- by BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals
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- Nov 23 2017
Celiac Disease: Causes and Symptoms
It is also called gluten-sensitive enteropathy, sometimes also called sprue or coeliac. It is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is a serious autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It affects 1 in 100 people worldwide.
When people with celiac disease eat gluten their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. This leads to damage on the villi, small finger like projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.
It is hereditary in nature. It can develop at any stage after people start eating foods or medicines that contain gluten. It can lead to additional serious health problems if left untreated.
The exact cause is not known till now. It is said that it occurs from an interaction between genes, eating foods with gluten and other environmental factors. Sometimes it is triggered by surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection or severe emotional stress.
- Abdominal pain
- Itchy blistery rash
- Loss of bone density
- Bone or joint pain
- Mouth ulcers
- Weight loss
- In children, intestinal problems are more common than they are for adults. These symptoms include:
- Pale, foul-smelling stool
- Weight loss
Most people with celiac disease never know they have it. According to researchers, only 20% of people with the disease ever get a proper diagnosis. The damage to the intestine is very slow, and symptoms are so varied. Two blood tests are done:
- Serology tests that look for certain antibodies.
- Genetic testing to look for human leukocyte antigens to rule out celiac disease.
There are no drugs that treat celiac disease. You will need to go on a strict gluten-free diet, also need to avoid beer, pasta, cereals, and even some toothpaste, medications, and other products that contain gluten.
This disease is most common among Caucasians and people who have had other diseases like own Syndrome, type 1 diabetes, Turner syndrome, Addison’s disease, or rheumatoid arthritis.
What is Gluten-free Diet?
Gluten is a complex protein found in wheat, barley, and rye grains. Regular wheat bread or pizza dough has gluten in it. A gluten free diet excludes exposure to any of the foods that have this protein in its ingredients. However, it is not easy to realize that wheat flour is often used in many processed foods and in recipes for many foods that are prepared in a restaurant. The Federal Drug Administration has published new guidelines that define gluten free food as having less than 20 parts per million of gluten.
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