What is celiac disease and what are its symptoms?
Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects people who are intolerant to gluten. This protein is found in many common foods such as wheat, barley, rye triticale. When someone with celiac disease consumes gluten, their immune system attacks the lining of the small intestine, which can lead to damage and nutrient absorption problems.
The symptoms of celiac disease may vary from person to person, but here are the most common ones:
- Abdominal pain and cramps
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chronic fatigue
- Skin rash
- Joint pain
- Loss of bone density
It's important to note that the symptoms of celiac disease can be similar to those of other gastrointestinal diseases, making diagnosis often complicated. Therefore, seeking medical help is essential if persistent symptoms are experienced.
Celiac disease affects approximately 1% of the world's population, and although it can develop at any age, it's usually diagnosed in people between the ages of 30 and 40 years old. If celiac disease is suspected, the first step is to perform a blood test to look for specific disease antibodies. If the results are positive, the diagnosis can be confirmed through a biopsy of the small intestine.
Fortunately, the treatment for celiac disease is simple, but it requires a strict gluten-free diet. This means avoiding wheat, barley, rye, and other gluten-containing foods. If a gluten-free diet is followed properly, most people with celiac disease can control their symptoms and lead a healthy life.
It is important to seek medical attention if you experience persistent symptoms of celiac disease. A doctor can perform a series of tests to diagnose the condition, such as blood tests, biopsies of the small intestine, and genetic studies. Treatment for celiac disease involves avoiding gluten for life.
If you suspect you may have symptoms of celiac disease or simply want to learn more about this condition, we recommend visiting the Celiac Disease Foundation website at https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/. There, you will find additional information about the disease, how it is diagnosed, which foods contain gluten, and much more. Don't wait any longer to learn more about celiac disease and how to manage it!
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2021). Celiac Disease. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/celiac-disease
- Celiac Disease Foundation. (2021). What is Celiac Disease? Retrieved from https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/
- Ludvigsson, J. F., Leffler, D. A., Bai, J. C., Biagi, F., Fasano, A., Green, P. H., ... & Sanders, D. S. (2013). The Oslo definitions for coeliac disease and related terms. Gut, 62(1), 43-52.
- Rubio-Tapia, A., Ludvigsson, J. F., Brantner, T. L., Murray, J. A., & Everhart, J. E. (2012). The prevalence of celiac disease in the United States. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 107(10), 1538-1544.