Saturday, August 4, 2012

Celiac Disease In Depth

Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy.  The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats.  The exact cause of celiac disease is unknown.  The lining of the intestines has areas called villi, which help absorb nutrients.  When people with celiac disease eat anything containing gluten, their immune system reacts by attacking this vitally important villi.  If this continues and isn't corrected it can cause malnourishment, as well as resulting in, autoimmune disorders and other diseases.  Symptoms can vary from person to person that is why it is so difficult to recognize, three people could have it and all of them may have different gastrointestinal symptoms.  Some symptoms include, but are not limited to: abdominal pain, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, depression, fatigue, growth delay in children (because of lack of nutrient absorbtion), and muscle cramps.  The reason for this is, if you don't get the nutrients your body needs, it can affect your entire well-being.  Tests to diagnose, normally check for low liver enzymes, anemia, low cholesterol, and clotting factor abnormalities.  Celiac disease cannot be cured, but if you go on a lifelong gluten-free diet, your symptoms will get better and can be managed.  Stay Informed!

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