Celiac Disease, or gluten enteropathy, is one of the more common genetic disorders known all over the world. And, contrary to what most folks may believe, no one “outgrows” it. Rather, it can be dealt with properly by knowledgeable management. And how will they know how to properly manage this disorder? By knowing the symptoms, of course!
As you may guess already, celiac disease is a condition wherein a body cannot properly hydrolyze peptides contained in gluten, due to an “inborn” error in metabolism. When taking in wheat, oat, and barley-based products—typically, foods that have gluten as its component—the person who carries this disorder “suffers” the symptoms. Usually, these symptoms include a pale, greasy, loose and foul-smelling stool which floats on water due to a high fat content (also called steatorrhea). Due to this process of malabsorption, other overt signs may be present as well:
- abdominal distention
- chronic diarrhea
- muscle wasting
- weight loss and
- extreme lethargy.
Also, since people who suffer from this condition are unable to synthesize certain proteins, it also follows that they may also endure other secondary symptoms due to their
- inability to absorb nutrients, such as frequent bruising (lack of Vitamin K), anaemia (lack of Vitamin B12 and iron), and risk for bone fractures (lack of calcium and Vitamin D).
- If not managed soon, children who are diagnosed with celiac disease may be unable to grow to an adult-sized height.
- Also, we have to note that most people who have been diagnosed with this disorder develop secondary lactose intolerance.
Celiac Disease pathophysiology
Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Adults
Adult “sufferers” who were diagnosed early in their childhood almost always know how they can supervise themselves when it comes to celiac disease. And no matter how long the remission period may be for some of them, there’s always a chance that this disorder will manifest itself.
Some symptoms may be brought about by the length of time that they have been dealing with the disease:
- nerve damage
- weakness in the extremities
- bone density loss
- alternating diarrhoea and constipation
- unexpected bleeding (i.e. nose bleeding and hematuria), and
- unexplained infertility just to name some among the more common.
If the disorder hasn’t been managed well enough, there’s a chance that other, more serious complications may occur. Pancreatitis and gallbladder disease may occur due to a proliferation of invasive bacteria in the small intestine. Bowel obstruction also has a chance of happening. And in a worst case scenario, cancer of the small intestine or small bowel may happen.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Women
There’s no difference between the symptoms of celiac disease between men and women. If there is one, it has more to do with the reproductive health of the affected females. An example would be missed menstrual periods. Since this is brought about by an excessive weight loss, it’s mostly adolescents and teenagers who can be most affected by this physiological alteration, possibly due to a lack familiarity in how to manage their disorders. But the most drastic change would come later, when these women will decide for themselves to bear their own children. Aside from the possibility of being infertile (as listed above), these women may be also prone to frequent miscarriages if they can ever conceive one.
The symptoms really are an awful lot to list. It just goes to show how widespread the effects, both physiologically and psychologically, celiac disease may inflict on the affected. But nonetheless, just as long as proper management, along with a proper consultation from your doctor, is observed, you (or your child) will still be able to live a happy and fruitful life.