How common is Coeliac disease?
Celiac disease is a common genetic disorder that affects people of all ages. Sometimes, for the first time, the disease is triggered after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection or severe emotional stress.
Note: Coeliac disease also tends to develop among persons suffering from Down Syndrome, Turner Syndrome (a condition that affects girls body development), Type 1 diabetes and Autoimmune thyroid disease. It may also occur due to Microscopic colitis — an inflammation of the colon that is only visible when the colon’s lining is examined under a microscope, particularly when the collagenous colitis (scar tissue) interferes with absorption of water from the colon and leads to diarrhoea.
What are the symptoms of Coeliac disease?
The symptoms of this disease vary from person to person and may occur in the digestive system or in other parts of the body. However, the symptoms of digestion are commonly observed in children and infants. Such symptoms may include abdominal bloating and pain, chronic diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation, paleness, foul-smell of the stool or fatty stool and weight loss.
In adults the symptoms of Coeliac disease may not cause digestive symptoms but may instead lead to one or more of the following:
l Unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
l Bone or joint pain
l Loss of bone mass (osteoporosis)
l Neurological complications like tingling numbness in the hands and feet
l Irregular menstrual periods
l Infertility or recurrent miscarriages
l Dermatitis Herpetiformis, an intensely itchy and blistering skin rash.
Note: The symptoms of Coeliac disease may not be evident in some people but the development of the disease may occur over time. The complications of this disease may also lead to malnutrition, lactose intolerance and cancer of the liver.
Is Coeliac disease treatable or controllable?
Coeliac disease is not treatable. But the condition can effectively be controlled by abstaining from gluten based foods, medicines and other products to reverse the damage and complications caused by celiac disease. Such foods include wheat, barley, rye, brown rice syrup, candy, potato chips and other forms of starch based snacks, cold cuts, salami, hot dog, sausage, communion wafers and gluten gravy.
How can Coeliac disease be identified?
In most cases, it is difficult to identify Coeliac disease from other forms of stomach complications such as irritable bowel syndrome, iron-deficiency anemia caused by menstrual blood loss, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, intestinal infections, and chronic fatigue syndrome because of the similarities of some respective symptoms. Nonetheless, like many other disease, Coeliac disease can be medically diagnosed by blood tests, intestinal biopsy and from signs like Dermatitis Herpetiformis.