Celiac Disease is an inflammatory disease that destroys the lining of the small intestines and prevents the absorption of nutrients and vitamins into the system. The patients' health suffers; their digestive system is unable to process gluten foods that contain wheat, barley, and oats. The cause of this disease is unknown; however, environmental factors and a genetic predisposition are suspected.
Destructive proteins that contain an abundance of proline and glutamine and the amino acid sequences Pro-Ser-Gln-Gln and Gln-Gln-Gln-Pro) are involved. The 33-MER, peptides cannot be broken down any further. When gluten is taken into the body, 33-MER stimulates T-cells to produce antibodies, and it triggers an autoimmune response, which slowly (IgA mediated) damages and destroys the surface villi. Furthermore, it reduces the amount of activity and decreases the amount of enzymes in the surface epithelium. Nutrients are not absorbed, so patients become malnourished regardless of the amount of food consumed.
There is a strong family genetic predisposition for this condition, specifically with the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) genes DR3, DQ2 and DQ8. The Caucasian population and people of European descent experience celiac disease. Moreover, women seem to have a higher prevalence than males for this illness. Incidence within the general population is 1 in 3,000 citizens. People from Mediterranean and African ancestries, Jews, and Asian cultures rarely suffer from this disease. Children can also be affected. Patients who suffer from celiac disease may also experience additional autoimmune diseases like arthritis, systemic lupus, sojourn syndrome, down syndrome, intestinal cancer, lactose intolerance, type I diabetes, intestinal insufficiency and dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), which are skin blisters.
Alison Murray: Symptoms
Symptoms for celiac disease can change from person to person depending on the age of the patient and the reason for their disorder. Symptoms are not all due to digestion issues, some symptoms like bone loss, joint pain, and DH occur in other areas of the body. The most common symptom for adults to show is anemia that does not respond to iron-therapy. As this disease affects each person slightly different one person can be experiencing diarrhea and vomiting while another becomes irritable and/or depressed. Infants and children are in the group who more commonly show the digestive symptoms like abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, vomiting, chronic diarrhea and foul-smelling, fatty stools. The infants however, if suffering from malabsorption due to celiac disease can have failure to thrive, short stature and delayed puberty.
The most common symptoms that lead people into realizing they have celiac disease, or to start investigating what is wrong with them, is the diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating. These symptoms, even though it sparks the patient to question what is wrong with them, is only experienced by about one-third of...