The Facts About Celiac Disease
Do you experience GI (gastrointestinal) symptoms when consuming gluten-containing products? GI effects that manifest after eating gluten, such as stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating, and more, could be a result of celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that triggers an abnormal immune reaction to the protein found in grains referred to as gluten. This immune reaction develops when gluten is eaten, causing unpleasant GI effects. While there is presently no cure for celiac disease, the gastrointestinal doctors at GastroArkansas in Little Rock, AR can diagnose and manage celiac disease symptoms.
How might celiac disease affect your body?
People with celiac disease should always seek a proper diagnosis and medical treatment from a digestive health doctor. Celiac disease might damage the body if it goes undiagnosed and untreated. This digestive condition could cause a chronic impact on the small intestine, where your body takes up the majority of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. When the protein gluten is absorbed in the small bowel, it causes the immune system to respond. The body then sends a host of antibodies to defend against it. These antibodies might harm the tissue in your small intestine, impairing your digestive tract's ability to absorb nutrients from food.
Some of the other possible lasting impacts of celiac disease involve:
- Weakened immune system
- Increased risk of cancer in the intestine
- Development of new food intolerances
- Scarring or ulcers in the GI tract
- Liver conditions
How is celiac disease treated?
Generally, the optimal way to treat celiac disease is to avoid consuming foods containing gluten. Once you’ve been tested for and diagnosed with celiac disease, it’s possible to prevent additional symptoms once you stop eating gluten. With time, the lining in your intestine should begin to heal and start to absorb nutrients. Being that there is currently no cure for this disease, those with the disease may need to eat a diet free of gluten for life to reduce the damage to their small intestine. Some treatments that may be suggested include:
- Prescribed medication
- A good follow-up care routine
- Nutritional supplements
If you are seeking celiac disease treatment in Little Rock, AR, the gastrointestinal doctors at GastroArkansas may be able to help. Even though the main form of treatment is a gluten-free diet, it is important to be diagnosed as having celiac disease before you stop eating gluten entirely to find out if it negatively affects your body.
Celiac disease vs. gluten intolerance: Are they the same thing?
On the surface, celiac disease and gluten intolerance may seem similar. They cause uncomfortable GI symptoms after eating gluten. The similarities don’t go further than that, however. As mentioned above, celiac disease can cause an irregular reaction in the body that may have a negative impact on your digestive system in time. While a gluten intolerance is uncomfortable, it won’t cause long-term harm to your digestive system. It can often be addressed by supplementing digestive enzymes. Celiac disease symptoms and gluten intolerance symptoms are almost the same; therefore, if you notice symptoms after eating gluten, we suggest a GI specialist assess you to figure out which condition you are experiencing.
Get support for celiac disease in Little Rock, AR
At GastroArkansas, our team is dedicated to educating patients on celiac disease awareness. Every 1 in 133 people gets a diagnosis of celiac disease. Having celiac disease can alter how you live life, usually for the best. By removing gluten, your body will start to recover from the damage caused by consuming gluten. As your body heals, your risk of having one or more of the above long-term effects decreases. To request a consultation, reach out to a GastroArkansas location near you. You can relax in the hands of our board-certified gastroenterologists in Little Rock, AR; they are here to help preserve and protect your digestive wellness.