Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition characterised by an inappropriate immune response to gluten. Celiac disease is also referred to as:
Gluten is a protein present in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale products. It is also present in oats produced in facilities that also process other cereals. Gluten is even present in several medications, supplements, and cosmetics. Gluten intolerance, often known as gluten-related illnesses, is defined by symptoms that occur after consuming gluten-containing foods. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity refers to a minor sensitivity to gluten, whereas celiac disease is an autoimmune illness.
The immunological reaction to gluten in celiac disease produces poisons that damage the villi. Villi are tiny finger-like protrusions that project from the small intestine. The body is unable to absorb nutrients from meals when the villi are destroyed. This can result in malnutrition and other major health problems, such as irreversible intestinal damage.People with celiac disease are advised to eliminate all forms of gluten from their diet. This entails most bread products, baked goods, beer, and food products where gluten may be used as a stabilizing ingredient.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Children
Children with celiac disease may experience fatigue and irritability. They may also be smaller than average and experience delayed puberty. Other frequent symptoms are as follows:
constipation or diarrhoea
pale, greasy, foul-smelling faeces
Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Adults
Adults suffering from celiac disease may face digestive issues. However, in the majority of instances, symptoms also affect other parts of the body. Among these signs are:
Anemia from iron deficiency
stiffness and joint discomfort
brittle, weak bones
tingling and numbness in the hands and feet
tooth discolouration or enamel loss
pale lesions within the mouth
abnormal menstrual periods
miscarriage and infertility
Another typical symptom of celiac disease is dermatitis herpetiformis (DH). DH is a very irritating skin rash with bumps and blisters. It might appear on the elbows, buttocks, or knees. DH affects roughly 15 to 25% of celiac disease patients. Those who have DH normally do not have stomach issues.
It is crucial to remember that symptoms might differ from person to person based on a variety of factors such as:
the age at which someone began consuming gluten
the length of time someone was breast-fed as a newborn
the severity of intestinal damage
the amount of gluten consumed
Risk Factors for Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is inherited. It is estimated that the probability of people developing celiac disease is 1 in 22.
People with celiac disease are more prone to develop other autoimmune illnesses and certain genetic problems. Celiac disease is linked to the following conditions:
Type 1 diabetes
Autoimmune liver disease
Diagnosis of Celiac Disease
A physical examination and a medical history are used to make a diagnosis of celiac disease.Various tests will also be performed by doctors to help confirm a diagnosis. Antiendomysium (EMA) and anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTGA) antibodies are frequently elevated in celiac disease patients. Blood testing can detect these conditions. When tests are conducted while gluten is still present in the diet, they are the most trustworthy.
Typical blood tests include:
total blood count (CBC)
liver function tests
alkaline phosphatase assay
serum albumin assay
A skin biopsy can also help doctors diagnose celiac disease in people with DH. The doctor will remove tiny pieces of skin tissue for examination under a microscope during a skin biopsy.When blood tests or skin biopsies are equivocal, an upper endoscopy can be utilized to diagnose celiac disease. A narrow tube called an endoscope is put through the mouth and down into the small intestines during an upper endoscopy. The doctor can inspect the intestines and check for villi damage using a tiny camera linked to the endoscope. In addition, the doctor can do an intestinal biopsy, which includes removing a tissue sample from the intestines for study.
The only approach to treat celiac disease is to eliminate gluten from your diet permanently. This allows the intestinal villi to heal and begin properly absorbing nutrients.Your doctor will instruct you on how to eliminate gluten while eating a good and healthy diet. They will also teach you how to read food and product labels so you can detect any gluten-containing substances.When gluten is removed from the diet, symptoms might improve within days. However, you should not stop consuming gluten until you have been diagnosed. Premature gluten removal may interfere with test findings and result in an incorrect diagnosis.
Maintaining a gluten-free diet is difficult. Fortunately, many manufacturers are now producing gluten-free food items that may be obtained in various grocery stores and specialty food stores. These items will be labelled "gluten-free."
The Bottom Line
Your symptoms should improve within a few days to a few weeks of following the dietary restrictions mentioned above in case you are diagnosed with celiac disease. The gut normally recovers in three to six months in young patients. In adults, intestinal repair might take many years. The body will be able to absorb nutrients correctly once the gut has totally healed.
A motivated student of Medicine & Surgery (MBBS) at R. G. Kar Medical College & Hospital, Kolkata, having a knack for reading and composing medical literature. When he's not writing content for MEDtalks, Swapnil is usually looking up the latest trends and innovations in Medicine.
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