Recently, it has been found that celiac disease can affect anyone irrespective of age, ethnic background and sex; it can stay lifelong and can involve symptoms from many organs. The symptoms can vary much between individuals and hence also between children and adults. Sometimes, there will be no symptoms at all. Patients hence tend to go for many doctors to understand their problem.
These symptoms almost disappear as the patients follow a gluten-free diet strictly. The intestines being severely damaged owing to chronic inflammation that it can never be healed with a gluten-free diet is a rare condition. The patient is believed to be unresponsive or refractory in such rare circumstances.
The celiac disease includes some symptoms involved with gastrointestinal, some with malabsorption and many others. They are listed as follows.
The gastrointestinal symptoms of Celiac Disease
· Mouth ulcers
· Chronic bloating
· Chronic indigestion
· Poor appetite
· Lactose intolerance
· Abdominal cramping, pain, and distention.
These symptoms also occur in gastrointestinal problems like stomach ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease. Hence celiac disease is confused to be these sometimes. Besides, long-standing undiagnosed celiacs can be subject to higher risk for developing lymphoma in small intestine and adenocarcinoma. Their risk drops in case of following a strict gluten-free diet. Anyway, the risk is very rare.
The malabsorption symptoms of Celiac Disease
· Weight loss
· Abnormal coagulation owing to vitamin K deficiency
· Failure to grow/underdeveloped growth in children
· Osteopenia or osteoporosis
· Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine
The flattened structure of the villi and other alterations in small intestine leads to the above symptoms. The intestine’s ability to absorb minerals, nutrients and vitamins is greatly impaired.
The other celiac symptoms include
· Delayed puberty
· Dermatitis herpetiformis (a specific type of awfully itchy rash)
· Unexplained short stature
· Recurrent miscarriage
· Peripheral neuropathy
· Dental enamel abnormalities
· Autoimmune endocrine disorders, as well as thyroid disease
· Elevated liver function tests
· Depression and anxiety
· Low serum (blood) calcium levels
· Low serum (blood) protein levels
· Subtle anomalies in blood tests for no evident reason (otherwise called as “unexplained abnormal serum chemistries”)
All the above lists of symptoms emphasize that the typical way to diagnose celiac disease is really a tough one for even the best doctors. It is very easy to miss the disease unless the doctor or the patient reminds one another to consider it for diagnosis. This is common for people with many medical problems in life and for individuals who seem fine but posses a genetic predisposition. Once celiac disease is confirmed, following a strict gluten-free diet is essential to prevent other serious complications.