At the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine, we want you to be aware of certain health problems and symptoms that might indicate you have celiac disease. “By definition, celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.”
If you have celiac disease, then eating anything containing gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Experts have listed almost a dozen symptoms of celiac disease. This immune response results in irritation, inflammation, and eventually damage to the small intestine.
An important point that you should understand before you read the list below is that these you could have celiac disease and not manifest any of these symptoms. You should also know if you are at risk for celiac disease.
The Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine recommends that you discuss screening for celiac disease in the following situations:
One: You have a parent, sibling or child who has been diagnosed with celiac.
Two: You should also discuss celiac screening with your doctor if you have a disease such as diabetes, type 1, which often accompanies celiac disease.
Three: Osteoporosis and iron deficiency can be caused by celiac disease, so you should discuss screening with your doctor if you are diagnosed with either of those.
Major Symptoms You Might Have With Celiac Disease:
1. Fatigue: If you are undiagnosed and you have celiac disease, one of your worst symptoms might be the feeling of constant, overwhelming and unreasonable exhaustion. You might even become addicted to continuous supply of caffeine, just to have enough energy to cope with a normal day of activity.
2. Excessive Bloating: After reading the description of Celiac Disease, it should come as no surprise that bloating is a symptom of it. Severe, very uncomfortable bloating often is described by patients as generalized intestinal pain, gas pangs or a pregnant feeling.
3. Constipation: Although diarrhea is quite common in some celiac patients, others present with constipation. This should not be surprising since the damaged intestine might be slow to move nutrients through the system.
4. Diarrhea: A celiac patient sometimes has explosive diarrhea. A strong hint of celiac disease is in the color, strong odor, and texture of the bowel movement. It could be pale, even white, and float on the water.
5. Neuropathy in Hands and Feet: Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet can also contribute to your discomfort if you have celiac disease. In some cases, the feeling of numbness or tingling can persist in the face and other bodily nerves.
6. Foggy Concentration: The celiac patient who changes to a gluten free diet might discover a whole new feeling of being wide awake for the first time in years. This is because celiac disease can produce short-term memory loss, trouble with concentration and confusion when faced with simple every-day tasks.
7. Weight problems: The person afflicted with celiac disease might over-eat in an effort to attain the nutrients his system can not absorb. This makes weight loss impossible. On the other side of the coin, the destruction in the intestine, the lack of nutrition, and constant diarrhea might cause the celiac patient to be painfully thin.
8. Sleeping Disorders: Celiac patients often exhibit difficulty getting proper sleep. Not only do they have trouble falling asleep, but their ability to stay asleep is also troubled.
9. Depression: Studies have shown that patients with celiac disease also register depression. It’s really not surprising, considering the miseries this disease can inflict on the human body.
Again, we stress that you consult with your doctor if you are concerned about any of these symptoms.
We know you will be relieved that you would not have to take pills or shots or radiation treatments if you are diagnosed with celiac disease. Your only treatment will be a gluten-free diet. Once the disease is diagnosed, and the patient no longer consumes gluten, many of these symptoms ease and then cease.
The Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine also hopes you will read “The Gluten-Free Report,” one of our previous blogs, to gain more insight into celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
Thank you for reading our blog this week, and we hope you will be joining us at the Center on August 21, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. for a seminar on this disease, gluten intolerance, and about “Going Gluten-free.”