Celiac disease symptoms vary according to the extent of the damage to the small intestine. What it is, the diagnosis, and the test for the disease will be discussed.
Celiac disease is caused by a protein (gluten) found in wheat, rye, and barley. While some gluten-sensitive people have no symptoms, the majority of "celiacs" have symptoms related to the poor absorption of nutrients.
Celiac disease symptoms are caused by damage to the hair-like villi that line the small intestine. The villi absorb food and nutrients. The long-term effects of the disease are malnutrition, liver diseases, and rarely intestinal cancer.
As with any disease, it is important to get an early diagnosis and begin a gluten-free diet. There is no typical case of celiac disease as it can attack the body systems in different ways. For some people, there are gastrointestinal symptoms while others may suffer damage to the cerebellum (gluten ataxia).
Because celiac disease is a gluten-induced autoimmune condition, it requires avoiding gluten for life. Unfortunately, some sufferers show no improvement when they switch to a gluten-free diet.
There are common symptoms that infants, children, and teens are all likely to have such as irritability, failure to gain weight, fatigue, weight loss, and decreased growth. All are related to the lack of absorption of nutrients.
There may be diarrhea or constipation, loss of appetite, mouth sores, and vomiting. Teens may suffer from depression, dermatitis, and delayed puberty.
Adults can have an even larger variety of symptoms such as: anemia, infertility, miscarriages, bone and joint pain, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. The failure to absorb sufficient calcium can result in osteoporosis.
There are so many other symptoms that a complete list is not possible. For example, patients often suffer from tingling in their hands and feet or migraines.
Because the celiac disease symptoms are so diverse, it can easily be confused with irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance or just misdiagnosed. There is a blood test, however, that can determine if auto-antibodies are present.
It is estimated that there are possibly 300 symptoms of this disease. There can be acid reflux, abdominal bloating, flatulence, restless leg syndrome (31 percent), epilepsy, insomnia, and vertigo. Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are psychiatric concerns.
See gluten-free food list for more information.