Attention: We are not doctors but only suffer from celiac disease. So our commitment is not to cure but to try to raise awareness, to inform, to share. We transmit information but celiac disease sufferers should consult their doctors. Our experience and comparison ( even in our travels ) with other people suffering from celiac disease have taught us that not all doctors are sufficiently informed. This information is of a general nature. Even when you will be diagnosed with celiac disease, It is important that a medical check over time.
WHAT IS CELIAC DISEASE?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that can occur in people genetically predisposed where gluten intake leads to damage the’ small intestine. It is estimated that is interested 1 person on 100 people around the world.
When people with celiac disease eat gluten [ a protein found in wheat (commonly called grain) and other cereals such as rye, spelt and barley, oats, Kamut (Egyptian wheat), Salem, Triticale, Bulgar ( cooked corn), malt, greunkern (Greek grain), seitan ( food made from wheat gluten)], their body creates an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks result in damage to the villi, small prominences ( as little fingers ) that line the small intestine and promote nutrient absorption. When the villi are damaged, the nutrients cannot be absorbed properly in the body.
Celiac disease is hereditary, which means it is passed down in families. People with a first-degree relative with celiac disease (parent, son, brother) have 1 person on 10 the risk of developing celiac disease.
Long-term health effects
Celiac disease can develop at any age after people start eating foods or use drugs that contain gluten. If left untreated, Celiac disease can lead to more serious health problems. These include the development of other autoimmune diseases such as type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis (SM), Dermatitis Herpetiformis (an itchy rash), anemia, Osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, neurological conditions such as epilepsy and migraine, short stature, and intestinal tumors.
Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is the permanent adhesion to a strict gluten free diet. People should avoid foods with wheat, Rye and barley, like bread and beer with gluten. Ingestion of small amounts of gluten, like a crumbs or toaster, can trigger small damages the intestine.
Celiac disease undiagnosed or left untreated can lead to:
Conditions for long term health
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Early-onset osteoporosis or osteopenia
- Infertility and miscarriage
- Lactose intolerance
- Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals
- Disorders of the Central and peripheral nervous system
- Pancreatic insufficiency
- Intestinal lymphoma and other gastrointestinal cancers (malignant tumors)
- Gall bladder dysfunction
- Neurologic manifestations, including ataxia, seizures, dementia, migraine, peripheral neuropathy, myopathy and multifocal leukoencephalopathy
Other autoimmune diseases
Later is the age of diagnosis, the greater the likelihood of developing an autoimmune disorder connected : Addison's disease ; Autoimmune thyroid disease (Graves / Hashimoto) ; Autoimmune hepatitis ; Crohn's disease ; Dermatitis Herpetiformis ; Gluten Ataxia ; Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy; Juvenile idiopathic arthritis; Juvenile idiopathic arthritis ; Microscopic Colitis ; Multiple Sclerosis; Peripheral neuropathy; Primary Biliary Cirrhosis; Primary sclerosing cholangitis; Psoriasis; Scleroderma; Sjögren's syndrome; Diabetes mellitus type 1; Ulcerative colitis.
CELIAC DISEASE DIAGNOSIS
There are two steps to find out if a person suffers from celiac disease: screening and diagnosis. You should always consult a medical expert on celiac disease to ensure a proper diagnosis.
There are several tests (blood) serological tests available for celiac disease antibodies, but the most commonly used is called a tTG-IgA test. If the test results indicate celiac disease, the doctor recommends a small bowel biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
IMPORTANT: You don't have to have a gluten-free diet. If you follow on a gluten-free diet, medical experts recommend a “Gluten Challenge” – the daily consumption of gluten at least 4 slices of bread from one to three months, followed by endoscopic biopsy with serological tests.
The diagnosis can be achieved by undergoing an endoscopic biopsy. This procedure is performed by a gastroenterologist and is an outpatient procedure. A biopsy of the small intestine is taken, that is then analyzed to see if there are any damages consistent with celiac disease. The diagnosis can be confirmed when improvements are observed, While on a gluten-free diet.
Not all people react negatively to gluten actually have celiac disease. The gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar to those of celiac disease. People who have symptoms in response to eating gluten, but they will have no intestinal damage and will have a negative response to testing for celiac disease antibodies.
THE SYMPTOMS OF CELIAC DISEASE
Celiac disease can be difficult to diagnose because it affects people differently. There are approximately 300 known symptoms that may occur in the digestive system or other parts of the body. Some people with celiac disease do not have noticeable symptoms. However, all people with celiac disease are still at risk of long-term complications, even if they do not show any symptoms.
On our children
Digestive symptoms are more common in infants and children. Here are the most common symptoms found in children:
- abdominal swelling and pain
- chronic diarrhea
- pale stools, smells bad or fat
- weight loss
- irritability and behavioral problems
- Dental enamel defects of permanent teeth
- delayed growth and puberty
- short stature
- failure to thrive
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Adults are less likely to have digestive symptoms, with only a third who has symptoms of diarrhea. Adults are more likely to have:
- unexplained iron deficiency anemia
- aching joints and bones
- brittle bones or osteoporosis
- depression or anxiety
- tingling numbness in the hands and feet
- seizures or migraines
- losses in menstrual periods
- infertility or recurrent miscarriage
- canker sores inside the mouth
- an itchy skin rash called Dermatitis Herpetiformis
For a complete list of possible symptoms of coeliac disease is useful to consult the :
Even after that celiac disease was diagnosed and we follow a gluten free diet we do medical checkups. Only specialists can control and monitor the effects of a gluten-free diet.