CELIAC DISEASE

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The typical symptoms of celiac disease may vary from person to person. Though the disease attacks or affects the digestive system or the small intestine, the symptoms may occur in any other part of the body. Celiac disease affects adults, children and even infants.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune illness of the small intestine. It affects the digestive system when food containing gluten is ingested. Gluten is found in foods like barley, rye and wheat. For someone with celiac, the body’s immune response to gluten causes inflammation in the small intestine, damaging the lining. This reduces the intestine’s ability to absorb dietary nutrients. Symptoms caused by nutritional, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies can occur. A person suffering from celiac disease can become malnourished regardless of how much food is consumed.

 

In adults the symptoms of celiac disease may not start in the digestive system. Some of the symptoms observed in adults are:

  • Bone loss or osteoporosis, especially in women
  • Mysterious iron deficiency in blood causing anemia
  • Itchy numbness in the hands and feet
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Arthritis
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Infertility and recurrent miscarriage
  • An itchy and/or painful skin rash known as dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Seizures
  • Recurring abdominal bloating and pain
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Pale, foul-smelling stool
  • Gas
  • Behavior changes
  • Muscle cramps
  • Pale sores inside the mouth, called aphthus ulcers
  • Tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
  • Missed menstrual periods (often because of excessive weight loss)

The general symptoms of celiac disease in children and infantsare:

  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Delayed growth
  • Abdominal bloating with pain
  • Foul smelling and pale fatty stool
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Irritability

If a child demonstrates some of these symptoms they may have celiac disease. Children with celiac disease may suffer from delayed growth resulting from malnutrition, delayed puberty, and dental problems.

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