Celiac Disease

Gluten foods can contain an immune response in the body, in people who have celiac disease. Gluten is a kind of protein that is commonly found in barley, wheat and rye. This disease is a genetic disorder that is a result of gluten intolerance. People suffering from celiac disease may experience malnutrition, diarrhoea, weight loss and damage in small intestine. Small intestine in this disease triggers an immune response to gluten that eventually crates damage and inflammation to the small intestine. The intestinal wall becomes weak in absorbing some nutrients that leads to malabsorption. Several other vital body organs of the sufferer may be deprived of various important nutrients. In children stomach pain may arise after eating the gluten containing food. As such there is no cure for celiac disease, but eating gluten free food may help subduing the effect of this disease.

Causes

The immune system of our body is the barrier that prevents and protects any foreign invasion inside our bodies. But people with celiac disease get the formation of antibodies, against the gluten food that in return start attacking on the inner lining of intestine causing the inflammation and intestinal damage. Villi of the intestine is a hair like structure helps in absorption of food but the villi gets damaged in Celiac disease that eventually lead to poor nutrient absorption in our body. Thus the people suffering from this disease become malnourished, in spite of eating a good amount and quantity of the food.

Symptoms

The celiac disease has a huge range of signs and symptoms and the major symptom of this disease is weight loss and diarrhoea. Sometimes the sufferer of this disease may not experience any digestive signs since many people also feel constipated. 10% of people facing this genetic disorder are found to be obese. Few other common symptoms are:

Softening of bone or loss of bone density

Dental enamel damage

Joint pain

Skin rashes known as dermatitis herpetiformis

Fatigue and weakness

Decreased Spleen function

Damage to nervous system

Heart burn and acid reflux

Most of the children having the celiac disease are found to be obese. Actual signs and symptoms may vary with age but digestive signs are also seen in many children. Children may have swollen belly, weight loss, pain and chronic diarrhoea. Constipation and neurological disorders are also experienced by few children having this disease. If dermatitis herpetiformis is the sign of celiac disease then an itchy and blistery skin may be experienced.

Tests

Various tests and diagnosis methods can be used for identifying the signs and symptoms of this particular disease. Some of the common tests are:

Endoscopy: After detecting the celiac disease in your bloods doctors will go for endoscopy to weigh up the small intestine. Biopsy on villi sample could also be performed to assess the damage in villi.

Blood tests: The increased level of antibodies in the blood of the patient indicates the presence of this disease. Mild symptoms of this disease can also be measure with the help of this test.

Capsule endoscopy: A minute camera is used for taking the pictures of your small intestine for understanding the damage caused by the disease. The camera is kept inside a capsule which travels through the gastric tract with the help of a very thin wire.

The celiac tests should be performed prior to eliminating the gluten from your diet, since elimination of gluten may give negative blood test results even if the person has celiac disease. Nutritional deficiencies in the body of the patients are also being evaluated to understand the low nutrients levels of the body. Stool test is also conducted for checking the low fat absorption into the body.

Treatment

There is no permanent cure for the celiac disease, since people suffering from this disease are sensitive to Gluten all through their life. But, this condition can be managed quite efficiently by following a strict gluten free diet. The best available treatment for this disease is a gluten free diet since it helps in managing the symptom along with offering a healing chance to the small intestine. The chances of relapse of the disease are very low as long as one adheres to a gluten free diet. Gluten containing food items are:

Farina

Barley

Graham flour

Semolina

Malt

Rye

Bulgur

Triticale

Spelt

Prognosis

Healing of the small intestine starts as soon as the Gluten free diet is started. Soon after the gluten free diet patients start feeling better. To have the best chances for leading a healthy life a gluten free diet should be consumed as soon as the celiac disease is diagnosed. The complete recovery from the symptoms may take few months to year.

Prevention

All the foods containing Gluten must be avoided in order to manage the symptoms of this disease. You doctor or dietician can devised a gluten free diet for you. Make sure you read the labels of packaged food before buying them. Some grains like oats may have some contamination of wheat.