Causes and Symptoms of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivities
Gluten negatively affects an estimated 1 in 100 people globally, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. And perhaps millions of people – children and adults – go through life undiagnosed, risking chronic health issues.
The most serious gluten disorder is celiac disease. A genetic autoimmune disorder, celiac disease prevents the body from accepting nutrients containing gluten. The slightest bit of gluten can trigger an immune response if eaten or accidentally swallowed, even a bit of toothpaste from brushing.
If a person has celiac disease, consuming gluten can damage the small intestine, producing inflammation that harms the intestinal lining and prevents the absorption of essential nutrients. In the system of someone with celiac, gluten can cause gastric disturbances, as well.
Though not as severe as celiac disease, gluten sensitivity can show up even if you don't have a genetic disposition to gluten. And it can quickly irritate your digestive tract.
Though the Celiac Disease Foundation reports there are more than 200 possible symptoms, it's best to be mindful of conditions that might signal celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Symptoms in children and to a lesser extent in adults:
- Abdominal cramping
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Distended stomach
- Growth issues
- Neurological issues
- Increased chance of tooth decay
- Osteoporosis and other bone issues
- Arthritis and other joint issues
- Skin rashes
- Nervous system issue or injuries
If you or a loved one experiences these symptoms on an ongoing basis, make an appointment with your doctor to test for gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.