Gluten; It is a protein found in foods made with wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. It is also found in oats produced in processing plants that process other grains. Gluten intolerance, also known as gluten sensitivity, is characterized by the body’s inability to digest or break down gluten. Some people with gluten intolerance have a mild sensitivity to gluten, while others have celiac disease, an autoimmune disease.
In celiac disease, the immune response to gluten creates toxins that destroy the villi. Villi are tiny finger-like projections inside the small intestines. When the villi are damaged, the body cannot absorb nutrients. This can lead to malnutrition and other serious health complications, including permanent intestinal damage.
People with celiac disease need to eliminate all forms of gluten from their diet. This includes most bread products, baked goods, beer, and foods where gluten can be used as a stabilizing ingredient.
What are the symptoms?
Celiac disease symptoms usually involve the intestines and digestive tract, but they can also affect other parts of the body. Children and adults tend to have different symptoms. In most cases, the symptoms also affect other parts of the body. Iron deficiency anemia may include joint pain and stiffness, weak and brittle bones, fatigue, seizures, skin conditions, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, tooth discoloration, pale sores in the mouth, irregular menstrual periods, infertility, and miscarriage.
Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is another common symptom of celiac disease. DH is an intensely itchy skin rash consisting of bumps and blisters. It can develop in the elbows, hips, and knees. DH affects about 15 to 25 percent of people with celiac disease.
Some people with celiac disease have no symptoms. However, they can still develop long-term complications as a result of their illness. If you suspect you or your child has celiac disease, make an appointment with your doctor right away. Complications are more likely to occur when diagnosis and treatment are delayed.
Who is at risk for celiac disease?
Celiac disease runs in families. If the patient’s parents or siblings have this condition, there is a 1 in 22 chance of developing celiac disease. People with other autoimmune diseases and certain genetic disorders are also more likely to have celiac disease.
How is it diagnosed?
Diagnosis begins with a physical examination and medical history. Various tests are also used to help confirm the diagnosis. People with celiac disease often have high levels of antiendomysium (EMA) and anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTGA) antibodies. These can be detected with blood tests. The tests are most reliable when done while gluten is still in the diet.