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Celiac Disease, also known as Celiac Sprue, is a medical condition that causes gluten intolerance. According to, about 1 in 133 Americans is living with Celiac Disease. Many people live with the disorder and dont realize they have it due to insufficient signs and symptoms. If you have Celiac Disease, the lining of your small intestines is damaged and you arent able to absorb certain foods especially those with high amounts of gluten like bread and pasta. Gluten, found in barley, oats, wheat and rye, may cause discomfort and intestinal issues though many dont have obvious symptoms and it goes unnoticed.

Causes and Risk Factors of Celiac Disease

There isnt a known cause for Celiac Disease and therefore no way to prevent it. It is a genetic medical disorder that some people are simply born with and others develop later in life. Those with Celiac Disease have a damaged immune system from eating a high amount of gluten (specifically wheat) foods. The damage will cause an inability to absorb certain nutrients so showing signs of malnutrition is a common sign. While there isnt a single cause for Celiac Disease, some people do have risk factors that make them more susceptible to the condition. For example, women have celiac more than men and it is more common among Europeans and those who are considered Caucasian. It is also common for those with Down syndrome, autoimmune disorders, intestinal cancer or lymphoma, thyroid disease, Type 1 Diabetes or lactose intolerance, to have Celiac Disease.

Symptoms, Signs and Testsof Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease belongs to a small group of medical disorders that doesnt have specific symptoms to point to. However, there are some basic discomforts sufferers of this disorder tend to have, which include abdominal pain, abdominal cramping, bloating and diarrhea. It is possible to have no intestinal issues and others with the disease have symptoms similar to irritable bowel syndrome and gastric ulcers. Celiac Disease might also be associated with other side effects that make it hard to diagnose the disorder such as anemia, joint pain, irritability, depression, muscle cramps, skin rash, osteoporosis, dental disorders, mouth sores and tingling in the feet and legs. The loss of nutrients with Celiac Disease can cause malnutrition, with symptoms like diarrhea, weight loss, bloating, gas and weakness or fatigue.

To diagnose Celiac Disease, a number of tests will be performed by your doctor. Tests include the albumin test (to see if your albumin levels are low), cholesterol levels, alkaline phosphatase test, checking for clotting factor abnormalities, complete blood count (CBC) to check for anemia, liver enzymes test and additional blood tests. If any tests show results similar to Celiac Disease, an upper endoscopy is performed to do a biopsy from part of the small intestine.

Treatment, Drugs and Preventionof Celiac Disease

There are no cures or preventative measures for Celiac Disease, aside from living a life of mostly low-gluten foods; this wont prevent the disorder, but it can keep it from worsening. While Celiac Disease cant be cured, it is possible to treat it by sticking to a low-gluten or gluten-free diet and avoid foods high in wheat or other forms of gluten. This means cutting out most wheat, rye, barley and some oats.

Its important to seek a medical professional for help with confirming a Celiac Disease diagnosis. Do not make any changes to your life before a doctor determines that it will help your condition. Some treatments a doctor may suggest include a change to your diet combined with supplements that can help reduce the side effects. Foods to avoid include: beer, bread cakes, pies, cereal, cookies, crackers, croutons, gravy, pasta, oats, luncheon meat, sauce and soups, unless they are labeled as gluten free.

A doctor may also suggest taking various supplements such as Calcium, Folate, Iron, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and Vitamin K. If left untreated, the disorder can lead to a variety of complications including malabsorption and malnutrition, low bone density, loss of calcium, lactose intolerance, cancer and neurological complications such as nerve damage and seizures. You should seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid these complications.