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    • cal16-January-2023 adminShubhi Sidnis

      Celiac disease: Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

    • Celiac disease is the name given to a digestive system medical condition that occurs after consuming gluten, a type of protein. Gluten can be found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust, and foods made from wheat or barley. Individuals with celiac disease who consume gluten-rich foods experience an immune reaction in their small intestines, resulting in damage to the inner surface of the small intestine and an inability to absorb some nutrients.

       As a result, celiac disease can cause abdominal pain and diarrhoea, which reduces nutrient absorption. Vitamin deficiencies result from malabsorption, depriving the brain, peripheral nervous system, bones, liver, and other vital organs of nourishment.

      Table Of Contents

      1. What Is Celiac Disease?

      2. Symptoms Of Celiac Disease

      3. Risk Factors For Developing Celiac Disease

      4. Treatment Of Celiac Disease

      5. Diet Modification For Celiac Disease

      6. The Final Say

      7. FAQs

      What Is Celiac Disease?

      Celiac disease is a serious disease that develops in genetically predisposed people when gluten is consumed, causing damage to the small intestine. It is estimated that one in every 100 people worldwide is affected, but only about 30% are properly diagnosed.

      If you are gluten sensitive, you may have celiac disease. In rare cases, gluten is found in barley, wheat, and mixed oats.

      When you have celiac disease and eat gluten-containing foods, your body has an abnormal reaction. The immune system (the part of your body that fights disease) begins to harm your small intestine. It targets the tiny bumps (villi) that line the small intestine.

      Your small intestine cannot get enough nutrients without the villi. Celiac disease is inherited. It can be passed down through generations.

      Celiac disease has been diagnosed in over 2 million Indians. According to studies, up to one in every 133 Indians may have it. However, they may be unaware that they have it.

      Symptoms Of Celiac Disease

      Celiac disease symptoms can range from mild to severe. They can shift over time and differ from person to person. Children are more likely than adults to develop digestive symptoms.

      Some people have no symptoms or only develop them later in life. A person with celiac disease may be unaware of their condition until they develop a nutrient deficiency or anaemia. Among these symptoms are:

      • Abdominal discomfort
      • Bloating
      • Gas
      • Chronic constipation or diarrhoea
      • Nausea and vomiting 
      • Pale stool with a foul odour
      • Greasy stool that floats

      Non-digestive symptoms of celiac disease can include the following:

      • Fatigue 
      • Weight loss
      • Anxiety or depression
      • Joint pain
      • Mouth sores
      • Dermatitis 
      • Herpetiformis 
      • Nerve damage in the extremities (which can cause tingling in the legs and feet)

      Nutrient deficiencies may develop in celiac disease patients as damage to the gut limits the absorption of nutrients such as vitamins B12, D, and K. A person may develop iron deficiency anaemia for the same reason.

      Symptoms Of Celiac Disease In Children

      When celiac disease restricts or prevents a child's body from absorbing nutrients, it can result in developmental or growth issues such as:

      • Failure to thrive 
      • Delayed growth and short stature in infants
      • Weight loss
      • Damaged tooth enamel
      • Mood changes, including impatience or annoyance
      • Late-onset of puberty

      Early gluten-free diet adoption can help to avoid these problems. Within weeks of eliminating gluten from the diet, intestinal damage can begin to heal.

      Diagnosis Of Celiac Disease 

      Celiac disease can be hard to diagnose. Its symptoms may resemble those of other digestive problems, such as:

      • Crohn's disease
      • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
      • Ulcerative colitis
      • Colon infection (diverticulitis)
      • Intestinal infections
      • an increase in bacteria in the small intestine

      Your doctor will examine your past health and perform a physical exam to determine if you are suffering from celiac disease. You may also be subjected to tests such as

      Blood tests-  This is done to determine the amount of infection-fighting cells (antibodies) to gluten in your blood. Celiac disease patients have higher than normal levels of these cells. Your immune system produces these cells to fight against things the body perceives as a threat (such as gluten).

      Biopsy- This is the most accurate method of determining celiac disease. A tissue sample is obtained by passing tools through the tube. Then a lab examines the sample.

      Treatment Of Celiac Disease

      The only way celiac disease could be treated is by consuming a gluten-free diet for life. Gluten-free people must avoid foods containing wheat, rye, and barley, such as bread and beer.

      Small amounts of gluten, such as crumbs from a cutting board or a toaster, can cause small intestine damage.

      By removing gluten from their diets, they are allowing their intestines to heal.

      Medication such as diaminodiphenyl sulfone (Dapsone) can alleviate symptoms of dermatitis herpetiformis. However, this does not heal the intestine, so a gluten-free diet is still required.

      Celiac disease patients may also benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements to prevent or treat deficiencies.

      Researchers are still working on drug therapies to alleviate the burden of celiac disease and improve the long-term outlook.

      Complications Of Celiac Disease

      Long-term celiac disease complications include

      • Osteomalacia (accelerated osteoporosis or bone softening)
      • Anaemia
      • Malnutrition (a condition in which you do not get enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to maintain your health)
      • Problems with the nervous system
      • Problems with the reproductive system

      Rare complications may include

      • Adenocarcinoma (a type of small intestine cancer)
      • Damage to the liver (which can lead to cirrhosis or liver failure)
      • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)

      In rare cases, even after adhering to a gluten-free diet, you may continue to have difficulty absorbing nutrients. If you have refractory celiac disease, your small intestine is severely damaged and unable to heal. You may require intravenous (IV) nutrition and specialised care.

      Dietary Modification For Celiac Disease

      • Make it a point to fill half of your plate with vegetables. This will provide you with gluten-free food that is nutritious, filling, and low in calories.
      • Reduce your intake of added sugars and fats, rather than gluten-free cookies or cake, typically high in fat and sugar. Desserts centred on fruit, such as yoghurt topped with fresh seasonal fruit, are a good option.
      • Choose low-fat protein sources such as lean meat, poultry without the skin, fish, and other non-fried or battered seafood. Beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, and various meat substitutes are also gluten-free protein sources.
      • Instead of full-fat ice cream, choose low-fat dairy options such as skim milk, low-fat cheeses, and low-fat or fat-free yoghurt.

      Avoid These Foods

      If you are looking for weight loss or are allergic to gluten, do not consume the below food items. All the below-mentioned foods contain a lot of gluten.

      • Bread-All wheat-based bread.
      • Pasta-All wheat-based pasta.
      • Cereals-Unless labelled gluten-free.
      • Baked goods-Cakes, cookies, muffins, pizza, bread crumbs and pastries.
      • Snack foods-Candy, muesli bars, crackers, pre-packaged convenience foods, roasted nuts, flavoured chips and popcorn, and pretzels.
      • Sauces-Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, marinades, salad dressings.
      • Beverages-Beer, flavoured alcoholic beverages.

      Include These Foods

      There are plenty of gluten-free options available. You do not need to worry at all. Here are a few:

      • Dairy-Plain dairy products, such as plain milk, plain yoghurt and cheeses.
      • Fruits and vegetables
      • Grains-Quinoa, rice, buckwheat, tapioca, sorghum, corn, millet, amaranth, teff and oats
      • Starches and flours-Potatoes, potato flour, corn, corn flour, chickpea flour, soy flour, almond meal/flour, coconut flour and tapioca flour.
      • Oils-All vegetable oils

      The Final Say

      Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder. Gluten exposure causes the body to attack small intestine cells. There is no cure, but a gluten-free diet can help to alleviate or eliminate symptoms.


      1. What foods should a person with celiac disease avoid?

      Avoid all products with rye, barley, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), graham flour, farina, semolina, and any other kind of flour, including durum and self-rising, that is not labelled gluten-free. Also, be careful of corn and rice products.

      2. What happens when you have celiac disease?

      If you have celiac disease, gluten consumption can trigger an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction will destroy your small intestine's lining and prevent it from absorbing nutrients.

      3. Can you suddenly become celiac?

      Celiac disease can occur at any age in people who consume foods or medications that contain gluten. The more time it takes to diagnose celiac disease, the greater the chance of developing another autoimmune disease.

      4. How do you flush gluten out of your body?

      Water helps flush out gluten and toxins from your body, so consume plenty of it throughout the day. Water contains zero calories, and it is free.

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