Celiac Disease Awareness Day
You might be asking yourself, what exactly is celiac disease? Great question!
Celiac disease is a serious, genetic autoimmune disease that is triggered by consuming a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, the protein damages the villi of the small intestines. This then makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, leading to malnourishment and other problems including anemia, thyroid disease and osteoporosis.
- Celiac disease affects 1 in 133 people.
- 83% of people with celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
- 6-10 years is the average time a person waits to be correctly diagnosed in the United States.
Celiac disease symptoms may vary among different people. With the wide variety of symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose. If it is left untreated, people with the disease can develop further complications like other autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis or certain cancers.
Some common signs and symptoms of celiac disease can include:
- Bloating or gas
- Delayed growth in children
- Discolored teeth
- Itchy skin rash
- Pale mouth sores
- Thin bones
Learn about more symptoms.
Testing and Diagnosis
With there being such a large variety of symptoms, celiac disease can be difficult to diagnose. A physician can screen by using a simple antibody blood test to determine if a patient has this disease. If it is still suspected after this blood test, the doctor will likely perform a small intestinal biopsy for confirmation.
Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is a 100% gluten-free diet, avoiding all foods that contain wheat, rye and barley in all forms. There are no medicines or surgeries to cure this autoimmune disease.
Think you may have celiac disease?
Complete this checklist from Beyond Celiac to find out if you could have celiac disease and how to talk to your doctor about getting tested.
Source: Beyond Celiac