One out of 133 Americans has celiac disease. That is 3,000,000 Americans.
2,490,000 of them are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Are you one of them?
Celiac disease is a digestive problem that affects the lining of the small intestine making it hard to absorb nutrients from food. If this disease is not diagnosed and treated, it can lead to serious health issues.
Celiac disease is genetic, which means it runs in families. When you have it, your body has an abnormal reaction to a protein called gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye grains. When gluten is consumed, the immune system attacks the part of your gut (the small intestine, or bowel) that absorbs nutrients.
The symptoms can vary greatly from one person to the next and are different for children and adults. Infants and children are more likely to have digestive symptoms, such as:
- Diarrhea that does not go away
- Crampy stomach pain
- Bloating and gas
Because the body is not getting the nutrients it needs, children may also have:
- Weight loss
- Poor growth
- Behavior changes and irritability
- Tooth discoloration and loss of enamel
Adults are less likely to have digestive symptoms but may have one or more of the following:
- Bone and joint pain
- Missed menstrual periods
- Itchy rash
- Sores inside the mouth
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
Blood tests may show that you are anemic and need more iron. It is possible to have the disease without showing symptoms but you could still be at risk for serious long-term complications, such as:
- Liver disease
- Osteoporosis (bone loss)
For more information:
Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free Diet
By: Murphy, Terri. CRS – Adult Health Advisor. 2013, p1-1. 1p.