The Importance Of Correct Diagnosis Of Celiac Disease
The small intestine is the part in our body that is affected in a celiac disease problem when it develops an immunological or allergic reaction to the gluten content in food that we take. Because of celiac disease the small intestine does not absorb the nutrients of the food digested leading to malnutrition in the person affected. He also suffers vitamin and mineral deficiencies, exposing the victim to other critical diseases. It is thus important for an early and a correct diagnosis of this intestinal problem.
Celiac disease is common in European countries like Ireland, Italy, Sweden and Austria. In Finland, the malady affects one in every 100 persons while in North America the ratio is one in every 3000 people. Worldwide statistics show that the disease is suffered by one in every 250 people.
The disease is often inherited but so far its exact cause is still unknown, except that the small intestine develops an allergy toward the gluten contained in certain kinds of food. Maybe the genes in the family are a reason why one or more family members have celiac disease at one time or another. It can occur at any age, although problems don’t appear until gluten is introduced into the diet of people.
There are also instances that the disease appears or is experienced after some form of trauma. It can happen in one after an infection, a physical injury, the stress of pregnancy and childbirth, or after a surgery.
Another reason for the difficulty in diagnosing celiac disease is the absence of typical signs and symptoms, with some sufferers having no symptoms at all. They only show discernible symptoms after introducing gluten into their diet. Because of the unclear symptoms, celiac disease sometimes is mistaken for other ailments like irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcers, or even nervous conditions.
The laboratory tests using blood samples of the patient are now done as a way of detecting celiac disease, based on the levels of anti-tissue translutaminase and anti-endomysial antibodies. Blood tests showing elevated antibody levels are a sign of the presence of celiac disease. In a person with celiac disease, his immune system recognizes gluten as a foreign substance and increases the number of antibodies to fight it.
Side by side with the blood tests, intestinal tissue checks are also done. This procedure involves the microscopic examination of a small portion of intestinal tissue to check for damage to the villi. The condition of the tiny, hair like projections from the small intestine that absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients will provide the necessary information if the villi is damaged, causing the inability of the intestine to absorb food nutrients.
The confirming test however is the introduction of a gluten-free diet which causes the celiac disease symptoms to disappear. The patient is also put on a gluten free diet to provide him the only known relief so far from the celiac disease problem.