What You Should Understand About Celiac Disease
Have you experienced gastrointestinal (GI) issues after eating gluten-containing items? Gastrointestinal symptoms that arise after consuming gluten, like diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, bloating, and oily stools, may result from celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that causes an irregular immune reaction to the protein in grains called gluten. An immune response develops when gluten is eaten, resulting in unpleasant GI effects. Although there is presently no way to cure celiac disease, the gastrointestinal doctors at Denver Digestive Health Specialists can identify and manage celiac disease symptoms. Read on as our Denver, CO team explains important facts about this condition.
How might celiac disease impact a person's body?
Those who think they may have celiac disease should obtain a proper diagnosis and medical care from a skilled gastrointestinal specialist. This disease might cause harm to the body if the condition is not diagnosed or treated. Celiac digestive disease could cause a long-term impact on the small bowel, where the body absorbs most nutrients. When gluten is absorbed in the small bowel, it stimulates the immune system to respond. The body then sends antibodies to protect against it. These antibodies could harm the mucosa in the small intestine, impacting the digestive system's ability to collect nutrients from food products.
Additional possible long-term effects of celiac disease are:
- Liver disease
- Higher risk of cancer in the intestine
- Development of new food intolerances
- Ulcers or scarring in the GI tract
- Being immunocompromised
What are the treatment options for celiac disease?
In general, the leading approach to treat celiac disease is to remove gluten from the diet. After you’ve been tested and diagnosed with celiac disease, it’s possible to avoid future symptoms by avoiding gluten. In time, the intestinal lining will begin to heal and once again receive nutrients. Since there is no known cure for this disease, you will likely want to maintain a gluten-free diet for life to avoid further damage to the small intestine. Other treatments that could be helpful include:
- Prescribed medication
- Nutritional supplements
- Continued follow-up care
If you are searching for celiac disease treatment in Denver, CO, the gastrointestinal doctors at Denver Digestive Health Specialists can help. While the main form of treatment is a gluten-free diet, it is important to be diagnosed with celiac disease before cutting out gluten entirely to determine how it impacts your body.
Celiac disease vs. gluten intolerance: Are they the same thing?
Celiac disease and gluten intolerance can seem the same, as they both lead to uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms after consuming gluten. However, the similarities tend to end there. As mentioned, celiac disease causes an unusual reaction in the body that may negatively affect the digestive system in the long run. Gluten intolerance is uncomfortable, but it does not create long-term damage to the digestive system. Gluten intolerance can most often be treated with digestive enzyme supplements that can minimize symptoms. The symptoms of gluten intolerance and celiac disease symptoms are nearly identical. If you are noticing symptoms, we suggest you be assessed by a digestive health professional to determine which GI condition you are experiencing.
Get support for celiac disease in Denver, CO
At Denver Digestive Health Specialists, we are devoted to educating patients on celiac disease awareness. Every 1 in 133 people is diagnosed with celiac disease. Celiac disease can alter how you live, typically for the better. Once you’ve removed gluten, your body can start to heal from the damage caused by eating gluten. As your body heals, the risk of long-term effects decreases. To request an appointment, contact a Denver Digestive Health Specialists location near you. You can trust our gastrointestinal specialists in Denver, CO to help preserve and protect your digestive wellness.