Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the small intestine reacts badly to gluten. Once exposed to gluten, the area swells, delaying, even hampering the absorption of vitamins and nutrients from digested food. This eventually leads to other health conditions when left unchecked.
What is Celiac Disease?
It is an autoimmune disease that leads to the swelling of the small intestine as a reaction to gluten. When not treated, this disease may cause the small intestine to deteriorate, which then leads to other conditions.
People with this disease can’t properly process gluten, which is a protein found in barley, wheat, and rye. It will result in them lacking the right nutrients in the body that may cause a long-term digestive problem.
Celiac disease is hereditary, it runs in the blood of the patient. If your maternal or paternal side develops this disease, likely, you can also develop this autoimmune disease. However, not all family members will necessarily get the disease.
The condition can develop at any age, and race usually begins when a person starts consuming foods and medications that contain gluten and symptoms will vary the age of the patient, and environmental factors are also considered as a reason for developing this autoimmune disease.
Cause of Celiac Disease
The cause of the celiac disease is not yet entirely clear to medical practitioners, experts still studying why people develop this type of disease, the following are considered of now as a primary reason for developing celiac disease.
- Genetic: You can develop the celiac disease if your first degree relatives like mother, father, and siblings are positive with these diseases because celiac disease is hereditary.
- Environment: Experts believe that environment also plays a role of having celiac disease
- Type 1 diabetes: Those who have type 1 diabetes more likely to develop celiac disease as a complication.
- Emotional stress: Researchers and medical experts believe that emotional stress contributes to developing celiac disease.
- Age: Some people develop celiac diseases due to old age.
- Other health issues, like thyroid diseases and microscopic colitis.
Symptoms To Watch Out For
- Paresthesia or feeling numb and tingling
- Abdominal pain (if experiencing severe abdominal pain, go to the doctor immediately it might not be a celiac disease but other health problem)
- Skin rash
Children symptoms are less specific such as developmental delay, diarrhea, and weight loss
Diagnosing Celiac Disease
Diagnosing celiac disease is usually done by doctors. Doctors may test the blood for IgA TTG or immunoglobulin, an anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody. If the test result is a positive biopsy, and endoscopy in the lining of the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum.
Having an autoimmune disease can cause lifetime health complications, and the following are some of the complications of celiac disease.
- Lactose intolerance: Because the small intestine cannot do its job well, lactose intolerance may occur due to the small intestine unable to digest lactose.
- Vitamins and minerals deficiency: Our small intestine absorb vitamins and minerals but, if the small intestine is damaged, the body won’t able to receive a proper amount of vitamins and vitamins it’s needed.
- Developing bone problems like osteoporosis: Due to lack of calcium because of small intestine malfunction, if left untreated, it may cause of developing osteoporosis and other bone problems.
Important things to remember in managing the disease:
- Do not think of the food that you can’t consume but focus on what food you can eat, like nuts, meat, fish, and vegetable.
- Get enough fiber as a replacement of gluten like black beans and other legumes.
- Always make sure that the product you buy is gluten-free.
- Find gluten-free food you love to eat.
Due to unclear reasons and causes of developing celiac disease, medical experts cannot formulate a medicine that can cure the disease.
It is complicated more than we think it’s not just simple food intolerance, it is an autoimmune disease or an abnormal immune response toward other parts of the body, which the cause is generally unknown.
It is still difficult for the expert to know the cause of the different types of autoimmune disease due to its complexity, like how the body produces antibodies, that instead of fighting infection, it will attack the body’s tissues.
As of now, there is no cure yet. The only treatment that is available is avoiding gluten for a lifetime is one of the best treatment the patient can do for now.
According to a series of studies done by experts, before switching to a gluten-free diet, patients should consult their doctor for proper diagnosis.