What is Celiac Disease?
The Celiac Disease Foundation describes celiac disease as an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine, and it is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. An autoimmune disorder is one in which the immune system directs antibodies to attack the body. The antibody of celiac disease is directed against gluten, a protein found in grains.
The body’s immune system directs the attack on the small intestine when gluten is consumed. This attack presents the risk that the villi in the small intestine become damaged. Villi line the walls of the small intestine and allow for rapid absorption of nutrients from food. When the villi become damaged our body is unable to effectively absorb nutrients from food, which can lead to malnourishment and problems such as anemia or osteoporosis.
What are the Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Plano, TX?
The symptoms experienced by those with celiac disease can vary significantly. However, the most common symptoms are:
- Abdominal Pain
- Diarrhea / Constipation
- Nausea / Vomiting
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Abnormal Liver Function Tests
- Behavioral Changes
- Skin Rashes
- Vitamin / Mineral deficiencies
How is Celiac Disease Diagnosed in Plano, TX?
Please see your Gastroenterologist if you are having any of the above symptoms. Dr. Malik encourages you not to self diagnose yourself because the symptoms of Celiac Disease are also symptoms of many other medical conditions. Dr. Malik will perform tests or procedures to correctly diagnose you and rule out any other diseases. Dr. Malik suggests not starting on gluten free diet without consultation because it may falsely affect the results of celiac disease testing
The procedures / Test used for celiac disease testing include:
- Blood tests
- Upper Endoscopy (EGD) – to look at and take samples (biopsies) of the small intestine to look for damage or flattening of the lining (villi) which is the “gold standard” for diagnosis of celiac disease
What is Gluten Sensitivity?
Those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity experience an adverse food-induced reaction when they eat foods that contain gluten. These adverse reactions can be very similar to the symptoms experienced by those with celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome. The difference is that individuals who have been diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity do not experience the small intestine damage or develop the tissue transglutaminase antibodies found in celiac disease.
How is Celiac Disease Treated in Plano, TX?
Celiac Disease is almost entirely treatable with a life-long gluten free diet. It is a good idea to consult with a dietitian after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Use of online resources and support groups is also very helpful in learning to live with this condition. Gluten-free foods have become more readily available in most grocery stores and on restaurant menus. Active research continues in Celiac disease and hopefully additional treatments will become available in the near future.