What is Celiac Disease and it's Symptoms?

Normally, the body’s immune system is designed to protect it from foreign invaders. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system forms antibodies to gluten which then attack the intestinal lining. This causes inflammation in the intestinesand damages the villi, the hair-like structures on the lining of the small intestine. Nutrients from food are normally absorbed by the villi. If the villi are damaged, the person cannot absorb nutrients properly and ends up malnourished, no matter how much he or she eats.

Symptoms of celiac disease vary among sufferers and include:

  • Digestive problems (abdominal bloating, pain, gas, diarrhea, pale stools, and weight loss)
  • A severe skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Iron deficiency anemia (low blood count)
  • Musculoskeletal problems (muscle cramps, joint and bone pain)
  • Growth problems and failure to thrive (in children)
  • Seizures
  • Tingling sensation in the legs (caused by nerve damage and lowcalcium)
  • Aphthous ulcers (sores in the mouth)
  • Missed menstrual periods

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