Celiac Disease is an autoimmune reaction to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When someone with celiac eats gluten, there is a process that occurs in the small intestine that damages the villi. The villi are small fingerlike projections located in the small intestine that help nutrients be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Celiac is a diagnosable disease that can be treated by following a strict gluten free diet. It should not be confused with the more common fad of being gluten intolerant. Some researches believe that the intolerance is actually an allergy to something else found in wheat. The difference is, in celiac, exposure to wheat causes actual damage to the intestine. This damage that makes absorbing nutrients difficult.
Celiac is known to be an inherited condition, as it is often seen in family groups. Many patients are diagnosed in childhood, but someone predisposed to Celiac may experience onset of the disease as a result of trauma or stress. Symptoms in children often include digestive issues (diarrhea, vomiting, pain, constipation) accompanied by irritability, failure to thrive, and growth or development issues. Adults often complain of depression, tingling in the hands and feet, arthritis, a specific type of itchy rash, and sores in the mouth. Women with celiac can miss menstrual periods and experience infertility or repeated miscarriages.
Celiac should not be self-diagnosed. Dr. Islam will order blood work and may order additional testing. If you think you or your child is suffering from celiac you should make an appointment right away.