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Celiac Disease: Covering The Basics

Celiac Disease: Covering The Basics
Shweta Chaubey

5 Key Takeaways

  1. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by consuming gluten, affecting approximately 1% of the global population.
  2. Symptoms vary but commonly include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, and unintended weight loss.
  3. Diagnosis involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests, with early detection crucial for effective management.
  4. Strict adherence to a gluten-free diet is essential to alleviate symptoms, promote intestinal healing, and prevent complications.
  5. Seeking medical help promptly if you experience symptoms or suspect gluten intolerance is vital for early intervention and improved long-term outcomes.


What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a health condition that happens when a person's immune system mistakenly attacks their small intestine after they eat foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Over time, this immune response can harm the tiny hair-like projections in the intestine that help absorb nutrients. Celiac disease is a chronic problem that requires lifelong management.

As per an article published by the Celiac Disease Foundation, it affects around 1% of people worldwide. However, many people who have this disease don't know it because they haven't been diagnosed yet. This means we need to do more to help people understand what celiac disease is and how to diagnose it.  

Why it happens?

Celiac disease is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There are certain genes that can make people more likely to develop this condition. In addition, things like when someone starts eating gluten and other health conditions may also play a role.

What are some common symptoms of celiac disease?

Celiac disease can manifest in various symptoms, which may vary from person to person. Common Celiac disease symptoms include -

However, some individuals may experience atypical symptoms, such as dermatitis herpetiformis (a skin rash) or neurological manifestations. In some cases, individuals may remain asymptomatic despite having significant intestinal damage. 

How to diagnose celiac disease?

When doctors suspect that someone might have celiac disease, they use a combination of methods to confirm it. They ask questions about the patient's medical history and perform a physical examination. They also take blood samples to check for specific antibodies that can indicate celiac disease. If these tests are positive, a biopsy of the small intestine is usually done to confirm the diagnosis.

When to seek doctor help

Seek medical attention -

  • If you have been experiencing persistent or worrying symptoms such as -
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • sudden weight loss
  • feeling tired all the time
  • If you have a family history of celiac disease or other autoimmune conditions,
  • If you suspect that you might be intolerant to gluten

Early detection and treatment of celiac disease can help prevent complications and improve your long-term health.

What helps with celiac disease?

The key to managing celiac disease is to follow a strict gluten-free diet. This means avoiding any food that contains gluten. By doing so, people with celiac disease can reduce their symptoms, help their intestines heal, and avoid further complications. To do this, it's important to carefully read food labels and be aware of foods that may contain hidden sources of gluten.

What could happen if you don't manage it?

When not managed properly, celiac disease can lead to several complications and long-term health problems. The inflammation and damage to the small intestine can make it difficult for the body to absorb the nutrients it needs. This can lead to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, which can cause other health issues. If left untreated, celiac disease can also increase the risk of osteoporosis, infertility, neurological problems, and some types of cancer.

Managing celiac disease might seem difficult, but it is possible to lead a fulfilling life by following a gluten-free diet and getting regular medical care. Researchers continue to study celiac disease to better understand it and improve how doctors diagnose and treat it. We can help people with celiac disease by spreading awareness and supporting them. This will lead to better outcomes and quality of life for all affected by this condition.

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HPFY Shweta Chaubey

Shweta Chaubey

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Shweta Chaubey, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. An advocate-turned-writer, her desire to create meaningful and positive content has brought her to HPFY and what better than writing ...

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