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Celiac Disease

Learn the warning signs and symptoms of celiac disease in adults and children, and discover how changes in your diet can lead to dramatic improvements in the quality of your life.

Understanding Untreated Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the body reacts to gluten. The symptoms are unpleasant and if left undiagnosed or untreated it can further impair health. Look out for these celiac symptoms to prevent long-term consequences!

Understanding Untreated Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body abnormally reacts to gluten found in wheat, barley, oat, and rye. The initial symptoms are unpleasant and if left undiagnosed and untreated, gluten can severely damage the small intestine and further trigger other health conditions throughout the entire body. Stay cautious of these celiac symptoms to prevent long-term consequences!

What Are the Symptoms of Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease symptoms vary between initial reactions to long-term consequences following gluten ingestion. Despite disparities between child and adult signs and symptoms, there are general similarities witnessed in all generations. However, children are more likely to experience digestive symptoms while adults may also. Such symptoms include diarrhea (the suggested classic symptom of celiac disease), abdominal pain and bloating, nausea and vomiting, flatulence (gas), steatorrhea (fat in the stool), indigestion and heart burn. Additional celiac symptoms include skin rashes, joint and chest pain, weakness, malnutrition, and weight loss or gain.

Long-Term Consequences

Whether undiagnosed or noncompliance to celiac disease treatment, long-term exposure to gluten can create long-term health consequences:

Bone Loss
The link between bone loss and celiac disease relates to calcium malabsorption, as the small intestine is responsible for absorbing minerals including calcium. And if the small intestine is damaged by gluten, it is unable to absorb calcium properly and efficiently. Low calcium affects bone density and increases the risk of bone loss or osteoporosis.

Celiac disease can also disrupt the absorption of iron, folate, and vitamin B-12, all vitamins and minerals that may provoke a form of anemia when absent from the diet or insufficiently absorbed. Anemia is when blood lacks healthy red blood cells, thus reducing the ability of oxygenated blood to become transported throughout the body.

Lactose Intolerance
Though milk products are naturally gluten-free, damage to the small intestine reduces the ability of lactose (the natural sugar found in milk and most dairy products) to be efficiently absorbed. Eliminating lactose-containing products may also limit calcium and vitamin D, further increasing the risk of bone loss.

Delayed Growth and Development
This occurrence is primarily of concern in children as they grow and develop. Stunted stature and delayed puberty are consequences of unmanaged celiac disease, mainly related to hormone imbalances and malnutrition. Adult women may also experience missed menstrual cycles along with infertility.

Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancers
When the GI or digestive tract is consistently damaged by gluten, the likelihood of associated cancers increases. The probable cause of digestive cancers (including esophagus and colon) is most likely attributed to irritation and inflammation.

Take Control

If you, or someone you may know, is experiencing the indicated signs and symptoms, seek out assistance from a healthcare professional. Their expertise can help guide and determine whether or not celiac disease is present. Being diagnosed with celiac disease may be a hard pill to swallow in the beginning stages, especially when considering the wide availability of gluten in the food supply. However, managing the disease does not have to translate to a restricted diet and low quality of life. Eliminating gluten can be easy with these tips while embracing these acceptable foods following a gluten-free diet.

bistroMD also understands the stressful strings that may be attached to managing celiac disease. bistroMD not only offers nutritionally-balanced meals right to your doorstep, but also creates gluten-free options. The ongoing support team can also assist in answering gluten concerns! For more information on gluten-free meals and valuable assistance, check out the official webpage at bistroMD.

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on September 02, 2020.


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