Celiac disease is a problem that occurs in digestion when a person consumes foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a type of protein found in whole grains, barley, black rice, and triticale. This disease is an autoimmune condition where the body mistakenly recognizes compounds contained in gluten as a threat to the body.
If you have celiac disease then you eat foods that contain gluten, it triggers an abnormal immune response. This damage occurs on the inside of the small intestine so that the small intestine can not perform its function properly in terms of absorbing nutrients from food.
Celiac disease needs treatment, because celiac disease can:
- Causes anemia
- Causes osteoporosis
- Increase the risk of lymphoma
In children, celiac disease can slow growth and weaken bones. If left untreated, your child can have very serious problems. Contact your doctor if your child loses a lot of weight, diarrhea, or feels weak for days without reason.
Causes of Celiac Disease
Doctors don’t really know what causes this disease. However, if you have certain genes for this disease, you have a chance to get it.
Because it considers gluten as a threat, the body’s immune system will produce antibodies. This antibody substance will make fine hairs (villi) on the intestinal surface to be damaged, so that the process of absorption of nutrients from food becomes imperfect.
In addition to heredity, celiac disease can also occur if a person has experienced a digestive system infection, such as a rotavirus infection. Not only that, some diseases such as type 1 diabetes, ulcerative colitis, nerve disorders, down syndrome, Turner syndrome, Sjögren syndrome, and autoimmune diseases can increase the risk of celiac disease.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
The most common symptom felt by people with celiac disease is diarrhea. This happens because of the inability of the digestive system to absorb nutrients from food perfectly. Other symptoms that you should recognize are:
- Flatulence and excess gas production
- Changes in bowel movements
- Weight loss
- Often tired
- Swelling of the hands, soles of the feet, arms and legs, caused by the accumulation of fluid in body tissues
- Damage to bone density
- Broken tooth layer
- A rash on the skin that feels itchy and blisters (dermatitis herpetiformis)
- Pain in the joints
Diagnosis of Celiac Disease
To diagnose celiac disease the doctor will usually evaluate the symptoms and do a physical examination. A common test is to do a blood test to see if you have certain antibodies that are useful for fighting this disease.
In addition, you may also undergo endoscopy. In this test, the doctor uses a tube with a camera to see the inside of the small intestine. Not only that, doctors can also do a biopsy, which is taking a small sample of tissue to be tested in the laboratory.
After the diagnosis of celiac disease is over, the doctor may do more tests, such as blood tests to check for anemia. You might also do a bone density test. This test will help your doctor find out if you have other problems, such as osteoporosis, which can arise when you have celiac disease.
Treatment of Celiac Disease
To maintain good body condition, you need to avoid all foods that contain gluten and wheat. Consult with a nutritionist to apply the right diet, so you can determine what foods are good for the body.
Gluten-free diet program can eliminate itchy rashes (dermatitis herpetiformis) from the sufferer’s skin, coupled with the administration of drugs. In general, doctors will prescribe steroid medicines to relieve inflammation of the small intestine. So, what foods can you eat?
You can still eat eggs, meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. In addition, you can also eat foods made with corn flour, spinach, beans, flax, millet, potatoes, rice, sorghum, to soybeans.
Many people revealed that within 2 weeks of avoiding foods containing gluten, the symptoms caused by celiac disease decreased. In addition, you also need to limit the intake of cow’s milk and foods made from processed cow’s milk.
Some foods that are labeled ‘wheat free’ may still contain gluten. Gluten can be found outside foods such as drugs, vitamins to lipstick. Therefore, make sure to read the label carefully. To note, if in a food composition there are words ‘Modified food starch’ and ‘Hydrolyzed vegetable protein’, it means that the food contains gluten.