Celiac disease is an autoimmune illness that affects the body’s immune system. The immune system becomes aggressive and starts attacking the small intestine after gluten is ingested. Gluten is the protein found in wheat which makes the small intestine inflamed causing it to not be able to absorb nutrients into the body.
There are more than 200 signs and symptoms of celiac disease
The most common symptoms are:
Liver and biliary tract disorders
Pale, foul-smelling stool
Failure to thrive or short stature
Pain in the joints
Tingling numbness in the legs
Pale sores inside the mouth
A skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
Loss of enamel
Osteopenia (bone density problem)
Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression
What happens if the Celiac Disease goes untreated ?
When the celiac disease hasn’t been treated the food consumed is not able to be digested in the usual way, this can cause the person to become malnourished.
Malnutrition in children with celiac disease results in a failure to grow at the normal rate. Children tend to go into puberty late with celiac disease because of the malnutrition. Younger children have a tendency to have the more classic signs of celiac disease, growth problems ,failure to thrive, chronic diarrhea/constipation, frequent abdominal bloating and pain, fatigue also irritability. Older children and adults have a tendency to have symptoms that are not all gastrointestinal . The most common sign of celiac disease in adults is iron deficiency, anaemia that does not correct with iron therapy.
If you suffer from a related autoimmune disorder, irrespective of celiac symptoms, I recommend to be tested for celiac disease. Autoimmune conditions like insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves disease, Addison’s disease, and genetic syndromes like Down, Turner, Williams. People who have had recurring miscarriages or infertility and a medical reason can’t be found need to be tested for celiac disease.
Numerous other symptoms that can show the existence of celiac disease, such as persistent gastrointestinal symptoms, bone density complications, dental enamel hypoplasia, fatigue, If you are worried about having any of these symptoms ask a doctor . It is really important not to self-diagnose, many gut problems have overlapping symptoms.
Diagnosing Celiac Disease
The Gluten Challenge
The gluten Challenge is where you remove gluten from your normal diet. It is important to have the normal diet you eat, for at least six weeks before testing to get a true result. During the gluten challenge you need to consume a minimum of four slices of wheat based bread each day for adults, children need to consume only two slices of wheat based bread each day.
Blood tests for Celiac screening
Celiac serology (blood test) measures antibody levels in the blood which is characteristically higher in people with untreated celiac disease. Because of the body’s response to gluten the antibody’s levels are higher than a person without celiac disease.
Gene testing (HLA genes)
Gene testing is an assessment when a person has a diagnosis that is uncertain. This can happen if the blood / small bowel biopsy results are difficult to interpret or if enough gluten was not being consumed to make the test reliable. A large amount of people affected by celiac disease have the gene HLA DQ2, HLA DQ8, or parts of these genes. The gene test on its own cannot diagnose celiac disease . Only 1 in 30 people who have the gene HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8 will progress to celiac disease.
A bowel biopsy is crucial to confirm diagnosis
A diagnosis of celiac disease can only be made by demonstrating that there are the usual small bowel changes of coeliac disease (villus atrophy). This involves a gastronomy procedure in which several tiny samples (biopsies) of the small bowel are removed. The biopsies are examined to confirm the presence of villous atrophy.
Available Treatments for Celiac Disease
When you have celiac disease, you unable to eat any foods that contain gluten ( wheat, rye, barley, oats). Removing the gluten from your diet generally improves the condition within a few days and ultimately ends the symptoms of the disease. In most cases, the villi are healed within six months. The gluten-free diet is not a small effort It involves lifestyle changes and learning to read food labels. you should only do this after the diagnosis of celiac disease has been medically diagnosed .
probiotic / prebiotic
probiotic are the “good” bacteria found in the gut, the main job of probiotic is to be responsible for continuing a healthy environment in the digestive tract. A heathy environment keeps the digestive process successively moving smoothly. A probiotic supplement containing the strains Lactobacillus GG or Bacillus coagulants could help relieve the symptoms. You can find probiotics in foods including sauerkraut, tempeh , kombucha, yogurt, kimchi, miso, pickles, buttermilk.
prebiotic are the foods that good bacteria in the gut utilize , they keep the gut healthy by supporting the immune system. Prebiotics help with the absorption vitamin K. you can find prebiotic in foods such as chicory, asparagus, onions, leeks, artichokes and garlic, dandelion greens , baked wheat flour, raw banana .
As well as removing the gluten, it’s helpful to eat foods that help treat inflammation associated with the celiac disease. Lots of fruits and vegetables that have large amounts of antioxidants, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and additional plant chemicals that have protective properties. Antioxidants help remove free radical toxins from within the body that could be unsettling the digestive process. Foods with anti-inflammatory benefits are, salmon and mackerel ( high in omega 3 fatty acids), almonds, avocados , broccoli , blueberries, carrots, kale, olive oil , oranges, strawberries.
Foods to avoid if have Celiac Disease Some whole wheat breads, crackers, pasta, chocolate bars, toffee and lollies usually have hidden ingredients that can contain gluten. Foods to avoid are, flour (wheat and rye contains a high amount of gluten, Semolina, white flour, durum flour and Graham flour, bee, malt, cereal, Couscous, Pasta, Soy Sauce, Snack Foods, Bread and Cakes, Quinoa, Potatoes, Fried Foods. Read all labels especially if you buy processed items.