You hear people say they can’t eat gluten, you read labels on food packaging that proclaim an item “gluten-free.” You hear about gluten a lot because it’s a big problem that affects many people. Gluten-aversion isn’t just a fad – it’s the root of a major autoimmune condition known as celiac disease. At Swetech Medical Center, we diagnose patients and help them adjust their lifestyle to manage celiac disease and minimize their discomfort.
What Is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is a digestive disorder and autoimmune condition caused by a permanent intolerance to gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in common grains like wheat, barley, and rye. The good news though, is that not everyone who is gluten intolerant will go on to develop celiac disease.
This disease is different than a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten. This condition causes severe inflammation that can damage the small intestine and occurs in the minority of people who are gluten intolerant.
While celiac disease is triggered by the consumption of gluten and primarily affects the small intestine, it can actually wreak havoc on the entire body. This chronic, lifelong condition has no known treatment other than the total avoidance of gluten, an effort that often requires a complete overhaul of a person’s diet and lifestyle.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
There are hundreds of possible symptoms for celiac disease, which makes it a difficult condition to diagnose. Two of the most common symptoms include pale, loose stool and weight loss, both side effects that are caused by the body’s inability to absorb nutrients from food. This condition damages the lining of the small intestine and the continued consumption of gluten will exacerbate the problem.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Skin rash
- Joint pain
- Numb or tingling extremities
- Balance problems
This disease has been linked to infertility and recurring miscarriages, as well as heart disease and certain types of cancer.
What Causes Celiac Disease?
The origin is not completely clear, but it is medically accepted to be a hereditary condition that is associated with certain genetic factors. If your parent or sibling has celiac disease, you have a greater risk of developing the condition yourself. Getting screened is highly recommended as the diagnosis of this condition can sometimes be tricky. Its symptoms can be subtle, and they can be all over the place, not necessarily presenting as a digestive disorder.
Celiac Disease Affects More Than Just Your Digestive System
Close to 75 percent of a person’s immune system is in their gut. If your gastrointestinal system is suffering from a gluten intolerance, it’s not only your bowels and stomach that are uncomfortable, your entire body could be unwell as a result of this effect.
An imbalance in your digestive system can make you more susceptible to immune-related conditions like headaches, anxiety, depression, skin problems, arthritis, asthma, allergies, and more.
Treatment in Clinton Township, Michigan
You shouldn’t have to be uncomfortable or suffer from holes in your diet because of gluten intolerance. Early detection can reduce the risk of health complications. Contact Swetech Medical Center or Swetech Urgent Care in Clinton Township to get tested for this and other autoimmune conditions.
If you have celiac disease, we will help you develop a care plan that will help you heal from your digestive disorder, maintain good health, and thrive. The doctors of osteopathy at Swetech Medical Center are prepared to address your acute condition and are invested in you overall wellness.