What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease (“Celiac”) is a disease of the digestive system that damages the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from foods. It is one of the most common diagnosed autoimmune disorders. Fortunately, more research on the disease is coming to light which involves. In my risk analysis, you’ll learn that certain viruses are the cause of Celiac with a genetic influence in 95 percent of people with Celiac.
Cause or Possible Cause of Celiac Disease
Celiac results from an immune reaction to gluten which is a protein substance presently found in cereal grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. It is the most severe form of gluten intolerance. Studies have shown Celiac to be linked to viruses in the gut, especially enteroviruses and reoviruses. Longitudinal studies have also determined childhood infections of rotavirus (one of 9 reovirus genera) lead to Celiac. For children diagnosed with Celiac under the age of two, studies reveal a strong susceptibility due to contracting respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or any viral bronchiolitis infection.
What Celiac Disease Does to the Body
When gluten-filled foods are eaten, an inflammatory response occurs in the small intestine which damage tissues. The result is an impaired ability to absorb nutrients from food which can cause malnutrition. While the small intestine can suffer extensive damage, the inflammatory response also triggers numerous symptoms. In fact, there are more than 300 symptoms of Celiac reported. However, there may not be any symptoms at all, though intestinal damage will occur if gluten is ingested.
The most common symptoms of Celiac relate to the improper absorption of food in the gastrointestinal system. These symptoms may include abdominal bloating and pain, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool.
Other common symptoms of Celiac include anxiety or depression, fatigue, irritability, headaches or migraines, tingling or numbness, pale mouth sores, discolored teeth, joint pain, thin bones, itchy skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis), anemia, infertility, delayed growth in children, and poor weight gain.
What Happens as Celiac Disease Progresses
If Celiac is left untreated, adverse health consequences and increased mortality is a result. There is an increased risk for malignancies such as small bowel adenocarcinoma, cancer of esophagus, B-cell and T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas, and especially T-cell lymphomas. Occurrence of thyroid epithelial cancer is 2.5-fold in people with Celiac.
Aside from cancer, severe conditions are associated with Celiac if left untreated:
Risk Influence for Celiac Disease
Celiac has a genetic basis and can run in families. However, the pattern of inheritance in complicated. The type of inheritance pattern is multifactorial (caused by many factors including genetic and environmental). Because Celiac has a hereditary influence, close relatives have a higher risk of being affected with the condition. The chance of a first degree relative having the Celiac is 10 percent. About 95 percent of people with Celiac have the HLA-DQ2 gene, and the majority of the remaining five percent have the HLA-DQ8 gene. Both HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 are the requisite genes for Celiac.
Treatment for Celiac
The only current treatment for Celiac is a lifelong gluten-free diet. There is no pharmaceutical treatment.
While my risk analysis does factor in viruses and genetic influences, another element to be discussed later is “genetically modified foods,” also known as “GMOs.” Because Celiac isn’t the only disease that GMOs affect, it is a topic that needs to be discussed in its own article.