What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disease, the body attacks itself. It is one of the most common genetic conditions in the world. It is a multi-symptom, multi-system disease in which the gastrointestinal tract is injured. The villi, which are part of the small intestine are destroyed which does not allow you to absorb the nutrients that are necessary to survive. This will lead to damaging other parts of the body as the disease progresses. It is gluten that is the culprit. Gluten is a group of proteins found mostly in wheat, rye, and barley.

What are the Symptoms?

Celiac Disease presents itself in many ways. Symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating and distension
  • Anemia
  • Skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis) Short stature
  • Delayed puberty
  • Infertility
  • Headaches
  • Osteoporosis
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Fatigue
  • Depression and anxiety

Some individuals may not have any symptoms which is know as asymptomatic CD.

How common is it?

1 in 133 Americans have CD but about 1 in 4,700 know they have CD. Since it is a genetic disease, relatives of those who have been diagnosed have an increased risk.

How do you get diagnosed?

Diagnosis is made through a series of blood tests. If the result of the blood tests indicate CD, your doctor may suggest a small bowl biopsy (endocscopy).

  • Endomysial antibody (EMA-IgA)
  • Tissue transglutaminase antibody (tTG - IgA/IgG)
  • Anti-gliadin antibody (AGA-IgG, AGA-IgA)
  • Total serum IgA

How do you treat Celiac Disease?


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