Celiac Disease Testing and Treatment
To avoid confusion on what celiac disease is; it is immune mediated systematic disorder whereby your body has a reaction to gluten. Gluten is found in all sort of wheat and grains and gluten damages the intestine villi. The risk factor in celiac disease is that most people do not know they have it. Ask your parents or inform your children as it is hereditary. If you have celiac disease, the probability of your child suffering from celiac is 1 in 10. Obviously, this is not a large ratio, but who wants to see their child suffer in any way?
Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Celiac disease can make you horrible because it can cause many deficiencies to the body. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of celiac disease:
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Poor absorption of calcium within the bone causing osteopenia/osteoporosis
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Poor balance because of lack of B12 absorption to the body
- Growth problems especially in children
- Skin rash
Celiac Disease Diagnosis
For starters, we are not a licensed doctor and are not diagnosing you in any way. This is for informational purposes. Celiac disease is diagnosed from the symptoms you share with your medical professional. Proper testing can see what is causing your symptoms or what the symptoms might be related to. Again, your doctor would do thorough testing to check if you have celiac disease based on one or more diagnostic test(s) that might include the following:
- Antibodies are immune cells that helps protect the body against infectious organisms. A blood test to detect the levels of these antibodies Anti-transglutaminase antibody: Anti-transglutamin antibody can be sensitive meaning if it is negative for you it is unlikely you have celiac disease but Anti-endomysia antibody: this anti body is very specific if it is positive that means there is possibility you have celiac disease. Tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies (tTG-IgA) – The tTG-IgA test will be positive in about 98% of patients with celiac disease who are on a gluten-containing diet. This is called the test’s sensitivity. The same test will come back negative in about 95% of healthy people without celiac disease.
Stool sample test:
- A stool sample test is also used to diagnose celiac disease by testing the fat content in the feces, reason is that if an individual is diagnosed with celiac disease fat is not absorbed by the intestine hence it would expel into the stool.
- People with celiac disease carry one or both HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genes, but so does up to 25-30% of the general population. Carrying HLA DQ2 and/or DQ8 is not a diagnosis of celiac disease nor does it mean you will ever develop celiac disease. However, if you carry HLA DQ2 and/or DQ8, your risk of developing celiac disease is 3% instead of the general population risk of 1%.
- This is also used to diagnose if someone suffers from celiac disease or not, which include deficiency of vitamin D and vitamin B12 in the body. As antibodies affect villi present in the small intestine, which is very important in digestion, it prevents absorption of various nutrients in the body. This leads to nutritional deficiency, and luckily, can be seen only through blood test.
- If all the above diagnostic test listed are positive, your doctor might need to perform endoscopy of part of the small intestine to check if the villi is damaged. If the villi are damaged, there is a likelihood the person is suffering from celiac disease.
Celiac Disease Treatment
Celiac disease can only be treated as there is no cure. Any one suffering from this disease would live with it for the rest of their lives. The most effective treatment is maintaining a strict gluten-free diet as this restricts the intake of foods, beverages or medications containing wheats, barley, oats and rye. This restriction is done from day one of the treatment plan in order for the intestinal lining and symptoms of celiac disease to be managed. Apart from this, your doctor might prescribe you with nutritional supplements to deal with the nutrients deficiency in the body but the case in which the rate of response to this treatment is slow, doctor would advise short term use of corticosteroids. Exercise is also important in dealing with celiac disease, here are some of the advantages of exercise in overcoming celiac disease which helps you both physically and mentally:
Your weight would be under control:
- It’s not uncommon for patients with celiac disease to suffer from weight variations, either weight loss or weight gain. Whatever the case regular exercise can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Achieving stronger muscles and improve bone health:
- Doing exercise that helps build the bone muscle would strengthen the bones and helps weaken celiac disease. To achieve stronger muscles do more of lifting weights or climbing stairs.
Improve the circulation of blood:
- Exercise helps to improve the circulation of blood, by this there would be better circulation reaching into the digestive tract which would help healing process of celiac disease patient faster.
Exercising would help achieve balanced lifestyle:
- A balanced lifestyle is important for celiac disease patient which can be achieved through exercise. You should be reaching an optimal rate and reducing secondary developing conditions to help heal the guts (digestive system)
It helps reduce risk of depression:
- Depression and mood swing is common to patient with celiac disease. Doing more exercise helps reduce depression, stress, and anxiety. Exercise like running, swimming, or walking help get your heart rate in the zone.
Helps forget the condition for a while:
- Exercise is very magical as it helps you forget your diagnosis, even if it is for a short period of time. A daily exercise routine would help you reduce emotional and physical problems with a bonus; your energy level would be boosted.
It is important to know that exercise brings lots of benefits to the body, especially with patients suffering from celiac disease. It is also important to seek your doctor’s advice before indulging yourself in any exercise program.
Prevention of Celiac Disease
There is no way to prevent celiac disease, instead, those of us with celiac must eliminate all gluten from our diet. Those with gluten sensitivity should reduce, or possibly eliminate, their gluten intake too. The real genetic causes of celiac disease are still unknown, and there are no precautionary measures to prevent celiac disease. The most important thing to know is that the only way to lower your risk of having celiac disease is to know the risk factors: minimize gluten rich foods, go for early diagnosis and treatment, maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
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