If you think you might have coeliac disease, see your doctor and ask about testing. You might be surprised to learn that you can develop this disease at any age. However, you are more likely to develop it if you have a close family member with the condition. Your doctor may recommend testing to determine whether you are affected by this disorder, but this is usually only done if you are experiencing symptoms. In the meantime, you should consult your GP and avoid making drastic changes to your diet until you have been diagnosed with it.
Celiac disease is when the small intestine does not properly absorb food nutrients. This can lead to a wide range of symptoms. People with this disease may experience unexplained weight loss, joint pain, or a general lack of energy. These symptoms may affect the patient’s daily life.
In some cases, the diagnosis of celiac disease is based on unexplained laboratory test results or an upper endoscopy (upper GI examination). First, the doctor will examine the small intestine to detect any evidence of damage. Usually, a celiac disease diagnosis can be made from a tissue sample. While symptoms may begin in the gastrointestinal tract, they may also appear in the mind and other body areas.
Children and adults with a family history of celiac disease are at increased risk for developing the disease. They are also at an increased risk if they have close family members with the disease.
The only proven treatment for celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet. This diet will stop the symptoms of the disease and allow the damaged intestinal villi to heal. With regular follow-ups, a doctor will help you make dietary changes to restore your health. Often, you will notice improvements in your symptoms in a few weeks or months. Although most people with this disorder heal with this diet, it may take years before you are entirely free of the condition.
Celiac disease can also lead to other complications. For example, it can deteriorate the spleen, which makes you more vulnerable to infections. Your GP may recommend vitamin supplements to correct any vitamin deficiencies. These vitamins can help you recover from any weaknesses caused by gluten. You may also need to take iron supplements to treat iron deficiency anemia associated with gluten intolerance.
If you are unsure if you have celiac disease, your doctor may recommend an intestinal biopsy. It involves taking a small intestine sample and examining it under a microscope. The biopsy is done through an outpatient procedure, which takes an hour.
Maintaining contact with your health provider and nutritionist for celiac disease after receiving the diagnosis of celiac disease is essential. During the first year after the diagnosis, your provider will want to see you regularly to monitor your condition and answer any questions you may have. After that, your provider will want to see you every three to six months or once a year.
You’ll be asked to complete various nutritional tests by your healthcare provider. For instance, your healthcare provider may check your iron level if you suffer from anemia. Also, your nutritionist may perform a small intestine biopsy to look for damaged villi. This involves inserting an endoscope through your mouth and obtaining a small intestine sample. It is done under anesthesia or sedation.
Your nutritionist will monitor your progress and check for autoimmune conditions. This is especially important because celiac disease can cause serious health complications. The outlook for most patients with celiac disease is good after diagnosis, but some cases can be fatal. Therefore, it is essential to make regular follow-up visits.
Celiac disease has a complex pathology caused by the interaction between genetic and exogenous factors. Several studies suggest that there may be a genetic component to the condition. While no specific cause has been established, the disease is highly heritable, with many patients carrying the HLA-DQ2 haplotype.
In addition to genetic factors, environmental factors are also known to influence the development of the disease. For example, the ETICS study, conducted in the 1990s, compared two birth cohorts of 12-year-old children, one during the celiac epidemic and one after. The main difference between these cohorts was the level of gluten present in baby food. In addition, the 1997 cohort of women breastfed their children for longer than the 1993 cohort.
Although no single gene has been found to cause celiac disease, specific genetic variants have been found to increase the risk. For example, people with two copies of HLA-DQ2 are twice as likely to develop the disease than those with one copy of HLA-DQ8.