Celiac disease is a digestive and autoimmune disease. It is also known as Celiac Sprue or Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy. Celiac disease causes damage to the small intestine when foods with gluten are consumed. This prevents proper absorption of nutrients, such as, fat, calcium, iron and folate.
WHY DOES SOMEONE DEVELOP CELIAC?
Celiac disease develops when the immune system forms antibodies to gluten, which attack the intestinal lining. This causes inflammation in the intestine and damages the villi (hair-like structures on the lining of the small intestine). If villi are damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed and the person will become malnourished.
THE CAUSE OF CELIAC
You are more likely to have celiac disease if you have a first-degree relative (mother, father, daughter, son, brother, sister)that is diagnosed with Celiac. Celiac disease follows a multifactorial inheritance pattern (genetic and environmental). First, you must have a genetic predisposition and then, something in their environment acts as a stimulus to trigger their immune system, which makes the disease active.
THE CAUSE OF CELIAC CONT.
People without the genetic disposition are less likely to develop celiac disease with exposure to the same triggers, or will require more exposure to the stimulus before developing the disease. Some factors that can provoke celiac disease are: surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, severe emotion stress, and a viral infection. This combination of genetic susceptibility and an outside agent leads to celiac disease.
ASSOCIATION WITH CHROMOSOMES
Celiac disease is associated with specific HLA class II genes known as HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 located on chromosome 6p21. Most of Celiac disease patients (95%) express HLA-DQ2 and the remaining 5% are HLA-DQ8 positive. Celiac disease is an autosomal recessive mutation.
SYMPTOMS OF CELIAC
There may be up to 300 symptoms with Celiac Disease. Most people do not experience all of the symptoms. Some of the symptoms include: abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, increased gas, diarrhea, pale stools, weight loss, severe skin rash, iron deficiency anemia, muscle cramps, joint and bone pain, growth problems, failure to thrive, seizures, tingling sensation in legs, sores in the mouth and irregular menstrual cycles.
One in 133 Americans have celiac. Most people will wait 6 to 10 years to be correctly diagnosed.
LIVING WITH CELIAC
Celiac Disease is a life altering illness. Most patients, when diagnosed become depressed and anxious. They have to monitor their food choices. To control the disease, they have to eliminate gluten in their diets. Many common foods, such as, wheat, grain and oats contain gluten, therefore they cannot eat many dietary staples. Symptoms will improve in a few days on a gluten free diet and the villi heals within 6 months.
OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS
Individuals with celiac disease are more likely to have: osteoporosis, miscarriage or infertility, birth defects and cancer of the intestine (very rare).
WHO IS MORE LIKELY TO INHERIT CELIAC?
Celiac is commonly found among white Europeans or in people of European descent. Celiac is very unusual in African or Asian descent. The prevalence of celiac disease seems different from one European country to another and between Europe and the United States.
When diagnosed with celiac disease, you have to eat a gluten-free diet for the rest of your life. The patient will have to receive nutrition supplements through an IV if there is a lot of damage to the villi.
Venkat Mohan. (September 21.2009) Celiac Disease . Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/celiac-disease/celiac-disease . May 15, 2011.
Vance, Amy, Gale, Thomson. 2005) Celiac Disease. Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/celiac-disease-3/2 . May 16, 2011.