Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks the small intestine after consuming gluten. Patients with celiac disease must avoid eating gluten, a type of protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, otherwise their bodies will end up destroying the villi in the small intestine, responsible for absorbing nutrients.
Roughly one out of every 100 people in the world suffer from celiac disease, and there is a higher chance of developing celiac disease if the patient has a relative who has been diagnosed with the condition. Celiac disease is diagnosed in children and adults. Symptoms can vary between patients, but the most common symptoms include:
- Abdominal pains
- Weight loss
Celiac disease is associated with genetic conditions, foods that contain gluten, and other environmental factors, but the exact cause of the disorder is unknown. People who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or down syndrome have a higher risk of developing celiac disease.
Many people live with celiac disease without being properly diagnosed. Doctors can identify the condition by using blood tests to check for high levels of antibodies that may indicate a sensitive reaction to the presence of gluten. If the blood tests indicate a positive match, your doctor may want to collect a tissue sample from your small intestine to look for damaged villi.
There is no cure for celiac disease, but carefully managing the things you eat can significantly reduce the symptoms. By completely removing gluten from your diet, it is possible to reduce the inflammation of the small intestine, and promote healing of the villi. If you suspect you have celiac disease, it is important to work with your doctor to find alternative ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Call GastroCare LI at (516) 265-7049 schedule a test for celiac disease and learn about which treatments may be available to you.