What Is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is a genetic disorder which can be difficult to diagnose. It often appears in childhood but can be misdiagnosed for autism. When it onsets later in elder people, it can be mistaken for deterioration from old age. It can be confirmed by a small intestinal biopsy.
It is an autoimmune condition where the immune system mistakes substances found inside gluten as a threat to the body and attacks them. This damages the small intestines and it becomes inflamed, therefore it is unable to absorb nutrients. The causes are not entirely known but it tends to cluster more in families but also can show up much later in life, which shows there is a combination of genetics and environment at play.
Symptoms of eating gluten if you’re celiac include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloating and flatulence
Symptoms of celiac disease itself or that may be comorbid include:
- Unexpected weight loss
- An itchy rash
- Fertility problems
- Nerve damage
- Disorders that affect co-ordination, balance and speech
- Delayed puberty
What About Treatment?
There is currently no treatment for the condition except for maintaining a lifelong gluten free diet. The recent popularity of the gluten-free diet has helped increase gluten free choices at restaurants, but also means cross-contamination may still occur as some people are on the diet out of choice and others for a serious condition.
The diagnosis can provide much relief for those who have been suffering with discomfort or misdiagnosis for a long term. Adjusting to a new diet may feel limiting and difficult at first, but with more recipes and gluten free alternatives, people with celiac can still enjoy pastries, pizza and cake with gluten free alternatives. Plenty of eateries also offer gluten free options, from brunch places to cheese cafes.
For more information, please visit Beyond Celiac.