Celiac Disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory digestive disease that causes breakdown of the intestines due to a gluten allergy. CD results from the immune system response to gluten that damages the small intestine. It can lead to malnutrition and other serious health issues if untreated. When the small intestine is damaged, nutrients pass through it, rather than getting absorbed. To develop CD, you must inherit a gene and be consuming gluten, and the disease must be activated; triggers include stress or trauma such as surgery. The disease is permanent; damage to the small intestine will occur every time you consume gluten, regardless if symptoms are present or not.
Chronic fatigue or pain syndromes
Constipation alternating with diarrhea
Infertility or miscarriages
Behavioral or concentration problems
Growth failure for kids
Dental enamel defects
It can take some time for people to get diagnosed because many of the symptoms overlap with other diseases. Common misdiagnoses include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), spastic colon/bowel, and Crohn’s disease. To find out if you have CD, your physician will order a Celiac Diagnostic Blood Panel, a test that reveals whether you have elevated levels of certain autoantibodies—proteins that react against the body’s own cells or tissues. Test results will determine whether you need additional testing. A positive small intestine biopsy (showing damaged villi) is the “gold standard” for a CD diagnosis.
So far the only known and effective treatment is lifelong elimination of gluten. It is important for patients to take extra enzymes such as Protease to aid breakdown of foods. Probiotics, fiber, magnesium, vitamin B-12 and antioxidants are essential in healing the crisis.