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What Are Celiac Disease Symptoms

Celiac disease is a genetic digestive disorder that affects people of all ages — from infants to adults. Those who suffer from this disease are gluten-intolerant, meaning they cannot eat food or use products with gluten. Gluten is a protein that is commonly found in rye, wheat, barley, and other common items such as vitamins, medicines, and lip balms. When gluten enters the body of a person with celiac disease, his immune system reacts by damaging the small protrusions lining the small intestine, called villi. Villi are responsible for proper nutrient absorption. When the villi are destroyed, the person will not be able to get nutrients from the food he eats, and therefore becomes malnourished.

Celiac disease affects people differently, and the symptoms vary from person to person. Digestive symptoms are common in infants and kids suffering from this disease. They can experience constipation, diarrhea, pale and greasy stool, abdominal bloating and pain, vomiting, weight loss, or failure to gain weight. Infants who are sick with this disease have a high probability of failing to thrive. Kids can also become irritable and can experience delayed growth, and delayed puberty due to malnourishment.

For adults, the celiac disease symptoms might be more subtle and can be observed in other parts of the body. An adult suffering from this disease can complain of fatigue, anemia, arthritis, depression or anxiety, pain in the bone or joints, osteoporosis, and a numbing, tingling sensation on the hands and feet.

Some people who are sick with this disease can show no symptoms at all. However, they can still suffer from long-term complications like malnutrition, intestinal cancers, and liver problems.

In order to detect the disease in the absence of celiac symptoms, a blood test may be necessary. An examination of intestinal tissues may also help a physician determine if the disease is present in a patient. Currently, the best way to mitigate this disease is to steer clear from products containing gluten.