25 Dec, 2009
Celiac Disease – Symptoms and Treatment
Posted by: admin In: Celiac Disease
A lifelong autoimmune intestinal disorder, found in individuals who are genetically susceptible. Damage to the mucosal surface of the small intestine is caused by an immunologically toxic reaction to the ingestion of gluten and interferes with the absorption of nutrients. Celiac Disease (CD) is unique in that a specific food component, gluten, has been identified as the trigger. Gluten is the common name for the offending proteins in specific cereal grains that are harmful to persons with celiac disease.
What are the symptoms of celiac disease?
Failure to thrive in infants
Pale sores inside the mouth, called aphthous ulcers
Tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
Itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
Celiac disease may also present itself in less obvious ways, including irritability or depression, anemia, stomach upset, joint pain, muscle cramps, skin rash, mouth sores, dental and bone disorders (such as osteoporosis), and tingling in the legs and feet (neuropathy).
Symptoms of celiac disease can occur at any time in a child’s life. Some kids experience symptoms the first time they are exposed to gluten, while others develop symptoms later in life after consuming gluten products without a problem for years.
What causes celiac disease?
The destruction of the inner lining of the small intestine in celiac disease is caused by an immunological (allergic) reaction to gluten in the diet that inflames and destroys the inner lining of the small intestine. There is evidence that this reaction is partially genetic and inherited.
European decent -It has been discovered that the highest rates of celiac disease are found in Western Europe and in areas where Europeans have emigrated including North America and Australia.
There are several tests that can be used to assist in diagnosis. The level of symptoms may determine the order of the tests, but all tests lose their usefulness if the patient is already taking a gluten-free diet. Intestinal damage begins to heal within weeks of gluten being removed from the diet, and antibody levels decline over months. For those who have already started on a gluten-free diet, it may be necessary to perform a re-challenge with 10 g of gluten (four slices of bread) per day over 2–6 weeks before repeating the investigations.
Treatment of Celiac Disease
Improvement in symptoms begins within days of starting the gluten-free diet. Complete healing of the small intestine, meaning the villi are intact and working, usually occurs in 3-6 months, although it may take up to 2 years in older persons.
When celiac disease is diagnosed, you should immediately adopt a strict gluten-free diet. Eating even the smallest amount of gluten can cause symptoms such as weight loss and diarrhea. You may be advised to temporarily avoid milk or milk products until your intestine heals, at which time you usually can gradually reintroduce them.
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