Summary: Celiac disease can cause chronic damage to the small bowel in the absence of proper care, making it imperative to recognize its signs and symptoms.
Most people have heard of the protein known as gluten. In our current time, it’s quite common to know a few individuals that follow a gluten-free way of life even if you're not living one yourself. Being intolerant of gluten, however, could be indicative of something more concerning – a health condition known as celiac disease. At GI Associates & Endoscopy Center, it's our aim to help patients gain awareness of the symptoms of celiac disease and develop ways to live with this health concern. There's no better month to discover more about the symptoms, signs, causes, and treatments for celiac disease than the month of May, recognized as Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Continue on to discover further details about celiac disease from our Jackson, MS gastroenterology team.
What should I know about celiac disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that damages the small intestine when gluten is consumed. In the presence of this hereditary disease, the body is prompted to carry out an immune system response after gluten is eaten that can damage the villi, which are the tiny fingerlike fringe lining of the small bowel. This, in turn, keeps the body from receiving nutrients adequately.
At GI Associates & Endoscopy Center, we want to arm you with as many details about celiac disease as possible given that approximately 1 out of 100 people suffers from this health complication. Those who have celiac disease are at an elevated risk for atherosclerotic heart disease (coronary artery disease) and are four times more likely to get cancer of the small intestine.
Recognize the symptoms and signs of celiac disease
Around 2.5 million Americans have undiagnosed cases of celiac disease. It’s very important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this disease because, if ignored, it could lead to long-term medical problems.
Common signs and symptoms of celiac disease are:
- Dermatitis herpetiformis rash, typically on the knees, elbows, or buttocks (or “celiac rash”)
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the feet
- Excess gas
- Tooth decay
- Bone or joint pain
- Mouth ulcers
- Loose bowel movements
- Symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Weakness or fainting
What can I expect with a celiac disease diagnosis?
The GI physicians at GI Associates & Endoscopy Center commonly provide screenings and help people with celiac disease in Jackson, MS manage this concern. To test a patient for celiac disease, our doctors will start by gathering in-depth information about their family and health history. Given that patients having an immediate relative with celiac disease possess a 10% chance of being affected by the disease, it's essential to evaluate family history first. Following this, we’ll learn about any symptoms and carry out a physical exam. Our team might analyze the following factors during this exam:
- Weight loss
- Swelling or pain in the abdomen
- Certain sounds emanating from the abdomen
- Skin rashes
Our GI specialists may also carry out celiac disease tests, such as biopsies of a skin rash or the small intestine, blood work, DNA testing, and further options. Results of these tests could offer us a deeper understanding of symptoms and the risk of any possible autoimmune issues linked with celiac disease.
Are there treatment options for celiac disease?
Even though celiac disease can have serious implications if left untreated, you can take comfort in knowing it can be fairly simple to manage. We typically suggest a celiac disease treatment of a gluten-free diet, which encompasses avoiding certain grains, particularly rye, wheat, and barley. You can find a tremendous amount of information pertaining to gluten-free diets online these days, but our GI doctors suggest visiting a dietitian who can help facilitate this transition, as gluten is frequently present in a number of things that many wouldn’t realize. Some common items that may contain gluten are:
- Lip gloss or lipstick
- Some OTC medications
Find help for celiac disease in Jackson, MS
Celiac disease really entails far more than intolerance to gluten. The disorder targets the small bowel and can result in long-lasting damage when left untreated. If you or a member of your family notices any symptoms or signs of celiac disease or you have a sibling or parent with celiac disease, we urge you to schedule an appointment at GI Associates & Endoscopy Center to be evaluated for celiac disease. For more information on digestive concerns or to receive help for celiac disease in Jackson, MS, please reach out to our GI doctors today.