Celiac disease is a complex, chronic, autoimmune disease triggered by gluten consumption that results in the progressive destruction of the villi of the small intestine, the small, wave-like structures that form the folds of the intestines and which allow the absorption of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
This pathology is mainly manifested by digestive symptoms (diarrhea, bloating, pain) and causes the body’s inability to absorb the nutrients needed to maintain good health. Other symptoms may occur, such as tiredness, aching joints, and even a depressive state.
People with celiac disease, however, can recover quite easily by eliminating gluten from their diet. It is estimated that 1% of the population would be affected and that, according to studies, 9 out of 10 people who suffer from it would be unaware of it.
Symptoms can occur at any age, alone or in combination :
- Abdominal pain (cramps, bloating)
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Bone pain
- Joint pain
- Extreme fatigue
- Lactose intolerance
- Vitamin deficiency
- Delayed growth
Difference Between Gluten Intolerance And Celiac Disease
As an abnormal immune response is involved, celiac disease can not be considered a simple food intolerance to gluten. In this case, we will rather speak of an autoimmune disease induced by the consumption of gluten.
In recent years we have been talking about “Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity” (NCGS) in scientific studies. People who are “sensitive” when they eat gluten-containing foods experience symptoms similar to those of celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome. This is usually called gluten intolerance. It is estimated that about 3 to 6% of the population is sensitive to non-celiac gluten, but the frequency of self-diagnosis without medical advice makes these data inaccurate.
Screening: There is a serological blood test for celiac disease in people with symptoms including TTG (Iga tissue transglutaminase) and HLA DQ2 and HLA DQ8 genetic markers. More than 97% of those affected have the HLA DQ2 and / or HLA DQ8 genetic markers. An intestinal biopsy is also required to make a diagnosis.
Treatment: There is only one treatment for celiac disease: a gluten-free diet, strict, and for life. The diet will help the small intestine to recover and reduce the risk of developing many complications related to untreated celiac disease such as osteoporosis, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, lymphoma, etc. [MK]