Celiac disease, also known as coeliac or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is an autoimmune disease which is difficult to diagnose because it has more than 200 symptoms. The disease affects people differently with some not showing any symptoms of celiac disease, yet the blood test results are positive. In others, the blood test may be negative, but the intestinal biopsy is positive. The disease mostly affects the digestive system, especially after eating gluten, a protein found in grains such as barley, wheat, and rye. Celiac disease occurs when you eat gluten, which triggers an immune response in your body, specifically in the small intestines. It affects both children and adults, with children exhibiting more intestinal problems compared to adults. This post elaborates the most common signs and symptoms as well as causes of celiac disease.
Causes of Celiac Disease
Researchers are associating certain genes in selected individuals as the cause of celiac disease. They also suggest that you have to be eating gluten diets to get the disease. The exact reason that triggers celiac disease in people who eat foods containing gluten is not known, with other researches implying hereditary factors. The symptoms of celiac disease vary from one person to another due to the following reasons:
- The duration of breastfeeding. Studies suggest that breastfeeding your infant for longer periods delays the manifestation of the celiac disease.
- The amount of gluten intake.
- The degree of damage to your small intestines.
- Age. Children and adults show different signs and symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease
This is one of the most common signs of celiac disease. One study shows that 73 percent of over 1,000 subjects reported feeling bloated. Bloating happens due to inflammation of the digestive tract. The main reason for bloating was including gluten in their diets. Apart from affecting people with celiac disease, gluten is also known to cause bloating in people who don’t have the disease. A gluten-free diet is the best prevention measure against bloating, whether or not you’re suffering from celiac disease.
Another common sign of the celiac disease is loose, watery stool. One study found out that more than half in a group of 215 subjects experienced diarrhea before being diagnosed with celiac disease. However, proper diagnosis is required to establish whether diarrhea is as a result of celiac disease or there may be another underlying cause. As we all know, diarrhea can occur due to other reasons such as eating dirty or spoiled food.
Many children registering poor or slow growth often suffer from celiac disease. Delayed growth, both in height and weight, could negatively impact the mental health of the affected children. Celiac disease causes malabsorption, the failure of the body to absorb essential nutrition to supply the necessary nutrients required for development. This shows the importance of diagnosing and treating any signs of celiac disease in advance.
Exhaustion and low energy levels may be a sign of celiac disease, especially if left untreated. Sleep disorder is also a side effect of the disease, which could lead to fatigue. Further studies link Celiac disease to causing damage to the small intestines, resulting in mineral and vitamin deficiencies. Lack of essential vitamins and minerals in your body leaves you feeling weak and fatigued.
If you suffer from excess gas, it might be a digestive issue caused when you eat gluten diets. This may indicate the presence of celiac disease which requires immediate medical treatment. Gluten intolerance has worse side-effects in people with celiac disease and excess gas is one of the tell-tale signs. However, bloating and excessive gas could also be as a result of other causes such as lactose intolerance, constipation, and indigestion.
If you experience difficulty in gaining weight or suffer from a sudden drop in your weight, you should get tested for celiac disease. The main reason behind weight loss is malnutrition. You could be eating a balanced diet but you find it difficult to maintain weight. This could indicate an untreated celiac disease in your body. One study on patients diagnosed with celiac disease observed that when treated, the patients gained weight substantially. However, other conditions that could also cause weight loss include cancer, depression, and diabetes.
Anemia or iron deficiency refers to a lack of iron in the body due to a decrease in red blood cells. Women suffer most from anemia and the possible reasons include blood loss and lack of enough iron in your diet. People with anemia experience fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and general body weakness. Research on people with anemia found that they were more likely to suffer the adverse effects of celiac disease such as damage to the small intestines and low bone mass.
This condition causes an itchy, blistering skin rash that affects your scalp, elbows, buttocks, and knees. Studies show that 10 percent of people with celiac disease have dermatitis herpetiformis. The skin rash affects people of all ages, but most likely the rash appears when you hit the ages between 30 and 40 years.
If left untreated, celiac disease can lead to serious complications later in life. Knowing the signs and symptoms of the celiac disease will in help early treatment and to prevent potential life-threatening conditions from developing.
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