Even if you think you know everything there is to know about celiac disease, it’s important to continue to ask questions and learn all the facts about this common autoimmune disorder. This May, celebrate Celiac Disease Awareness Month with GI Associates and learn more about this disease that affects 1 in 100 people.
What Is Celiac Disease?
Like many autoimmune disorders, celiac disease can become apparent in many different ways, depending on the age when you’re diagnosed, your sex, your general health, and other factors. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder and currently has no known cures. It is known to be hereditary, with a 1 in 10 risk of developing the disease among first-degree relatives like a parent, child, or sibling. The symptoms you might develop if you have celiac disease come from your body attacking gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. People with celiac don’t have the ability to handle this protein, which can wreak havoc on the entire digestive system.
Celiac can present itself in a few different manners, with some people showing severe symptoms while others show very few or even no outwardly apparent symptoms. Generally, you could be diagnosed with one of three types: classical, non-classical, or silent. Classical symptoms are the ones you’ve probably heard of the most, which are largely centered around digestive symptoms like diarrhea, weight loss, difficulty with nutrition absorption, stomach pains, and failure to thrive when diagnosed in kids. A non-classical presentation may show symptoms that seem unrelated to your digestive tract, like infertility, fatigue, depression, anxiety, migraines, vitamin deficiency, and even skin problems. The third type, silent celiac, is exactly what it sounds like. You can have the disease and not see any outwardly presenting symptoms, although your body is still being damaged on the inside.
I Just Got Diagnosed. What Do I Do Now?
There are multiple ways to detect celiac, whether through a blood test or physical tests, so if you suspect you have it, make an appointment to be checked for it today. Once you receive a diagnosis, we will work with you to determine your best course of treatment. Although there is no cure for celiac, the symptoms can be managed. A gluten-free diet is critical for patients with a celiac diagnosis, as well as other lifestyle adjustments depending on your individual case. The Celiac Disease Foundation has a host of resources ranging from support groups, gluten-free meal plans, conferences, and information about the disease.
I Have A Friend With Celiac. What Can I Do To Support Them?
Patients with celiac can often feel isolated, especially if they have a new diagnosis and are coming to terms with understanding how to handle it. As an outsider, you can support them by learning about their condition and working to support their new goals and nutritional needs. During Celiac Disease Awareness Month, take the time to share information with friends or through social media in order to spread more information and understanding.
At GI Associates, our goal is to properly diagnose anyone experiencing the symptoms of celiac, whether they’re severe or almost non-existent. With a proper diagnosis, we can then move on to education and counseling, helping with diet and exercise adjustments. Book an appointment today to learn more about this condition and your choices.