Celiac disease is not a very popular condition, but there is always that definite possibility that you might know of one suffering from this condition. In this article, we will be talking about the basics of celiac disease, celiac disease symptoms and treatment methods. This is very important since celiac disease, if not spotted early, may cause a lot of complications later in life.
Celiac disease is a congenital condition that affects one’s digestive system. There is a damage that occurs in the lining of the small intestines, leading to the malabsorption of nutrients. This can be likened to an allergic condition where the allergen will cause damage to the small intestines. In celiac disease, the perpetrator would be gluten. Gluten is a major component in most breads, pastries and cakes. It is mainly found in barley, oats, rye and wheat.
As mentioned earlier, when you ignore the symptoms of gluten-intolerance, it can lead to malnutrition in children. For adults, there is a definite possibility of developing cancer of the lymph nodes, or lymphoma. In some cases, it can also lead to cancer of the small intestines and the esophagus.
To spot gluten-intolerance symptoms, you must familiarize yourself with the list below. Mind you, the symptoms of celiac disease are very vague, therefore, a proper diagnosis will require diagnostic tests to confirms your doctor’s suspicions. The list for the most common symptoms of celiac disease would include the following: diarrhea, weight loss, steatorrhea, anemia and weakening of the bones. Other symptoms of gluten-intolerance would be anemia, hair loss, amenorrhea or missed periods for women, fatigue, mouth sores, teeth problems and delayed growth.
The manifestation of this condition differs with the age of onset. In infants, you would be able to observe diarrhea, irritability, and muscle wasting. Children will be exhibiting the same symptoms and are usually short in height. Once treated though, they would be able to catch up with their normal height. Adults may be the hardest to diagnose for some of them might be asymptomatic. That means they may not be exhibiting any symptoms at all. For others, the symptoms may be too mild to be noticed, like bloating and increased flatulence. Not all adults will have diarrhea and steatorrhea.
As you can very well see, the symptoms of gluten-intolerance are too general and too vague. Patients would need to have certain laboratory tests done in order to have their condition properly diagnosed. Common laboratory exams for celiac disease will include a small intestine biopsy and antibody tests.
There are three antibody tests that a person would need to take in order to be diagnosed with gluten-intolerance. Those would be the antigliadin antibody test, anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody test, and the endomysial antibody test. A positive result would be required to cement the diagnosis.
The small intestine biopsy will have to be the most accurate test for gluten-intolerance because in this procedure, a piece of the small intestine will be removed and examined for the loss or damage of villi. Samples will be taken through an EGD or an esophagogastroduodenoscopy.
Though this condition is considered to be quite rare, it always pays to be informed. If you know of someone who exhibits the symptoms mentioned above, they should be taken to the doctor immediately to prevent further malnutrition.