When you don’t feel good after eating certain foods, such as wheat, how do you know if celiac disease is the reason? It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis, so that you’re able to effectively manage or treat this condition if you have it. Learn more about celiac disease, including common symptoms and treatments.
Causes of Celiac Disease
Celiac disease occurs when your immune system reacts to the presence of gluten, which is found in products containing wheat, rye or barley. This disease can lead to potentially serious complications over time as your small intestine is damaged. The exact cause of celiac disease isn’t known, but it’s believed to be linked to genetic and environmental factors. Having certain risk factors, such as a family history of celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes, can increase your chance of getting it.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
When you have celiac disease, you might have fatigue and diarrhea, as well as unexplained weight loss. Other common symptoms include gas, bloating, constipation, nausea and abdominal pain. In some cases, you might have signs and symptoms that aren’t ones that affect your digestive system, such as ulcers in your mouth or skin rashes. Other non-digestive symptoms that can occur include anemia, osteoporosis, joint pain and headaches. When you have any of these symptoms and they last for more than a couple of weeks, you should see your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis.
Treatments for Celiac Disease
Celiac disease doesn’t have a cure, but there are ways for you to manage this condition. Keep in mind that it’s important to do so in order to lower your risk of complications, such as malnutrition, bone density loss, and neurological problems. The main course of treatment for celiac disease is adopting a diet that contains no gluten. This protein is found in several foods, including wheat, barley, rye, spelt, farina and malt. You’ll need to check labels carefully to look for ingredients that contain gluten. You might also need to take supplements if you are experiencing any malnutrition due to this disease. In some cases, you might need to take medication to reduce inflammation, such as when you have severe damage to your small intestine.
Celiac Disease Prevention
There are no known ways to prevent getting celiac disease. If you have a family history of this disease, you can talk to your doctor about having testing done to see if you have it. Even if you are not experiencing symptoms of celiac disease, your doctor might recommend avoiding foods with gluten if you have a high risk of having this disease. If you have celiac disease, you can prevent symptoms from flaring up by following your treatment plan, especially when it comes to avoiding foods and other products that contain gluten.
If you believe that you might have celiac disease, please contact Anthony S. Borcich, MD to schedule an appointment. Dr. Borcich can evaluate your symptoms and run diagnostic tests to determine if you have this disease.