Celiac Disease is an intestinal pathology with an immunological origin that occurs as a consequence of a gluten intolerance in genetically predisposed individuals.
Gluten belongs to a group of proteins present in wheat (gliadin), rye (secalin), barley (hordein), and triticale (wheat-rye hybrid).
Unlike what is traditionally believed, Celiac Disease does not only affect children. Most cases are currently diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 50, and the diagnosis in senior citizens is not infrequent.
The cause of the disease is not altogether known, but it is believed to be the consequence of an interaction between genetic, immunological, and environmental factors.
The typical manifestation of the disease is the one that affects children after gluten is introduced in their diet, followed by the development of poor absorption symptoms such as chronic diarrhoea, abdominal distension, irritability, and growth retardation.
Atypical symptoms are more frequent in adults, such as dyspepsia, flatulence, diarrhoea with functional characteristics, vomiting, or some cases extra-digestive symptoms such as iron deficiency anaemia, osteopenia or osteoporosis, dermatitis, oral cankers, alteration of the hepatic biochemistry (hypertransaminasemia), tiredness, irritability, anxiety, myopathies, neuropathies, migraines…
The diagnosis of the disease is based on the symptomatology, biopsies of the duodenum, genetic tests, serological tests, and an improvement of the symptoms after a period of maintaining a gluten-free diet.
The existence of a lesion in the duodenal biopsies is still the reference standard for establishing a diagnosis of Celiac Disease.
All patients with this diagnosed pathology must strictly and indefinitely exclude gluten from their diets.
These patients’ diet is based on food that does not have gluten in its origin, such as dairy products, meat, eggs, fish, fruit, vegetables, legumes, and gluten free cereals (rice, corn…).
If you present any of the aforementioned symptoms or have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, consult a medical centre that specializes in digestive system illnesses for a correct diagnosis, treatment, and control.