Raising Awareness: What You Should Know About Celiac Disease
Do you experience gastrointestinal problems when consuming products containing gluten? GI symptoms that develop after eating gluten, such as loose stools, stomach pain, bloating, and greasy stools, may be caused by celiac disease. An autoimmune condition, celiac disease elicits an abnormal immune response to the protein found in grains called gluten. This immune response occurs when gluten is ingested, leading to unpleasant GI symptoms. Although there is presently no method for curing celiac disease, the GI providers at San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates in San Antonio, TX can diagnose and manage celiac disease symptoms.
How does celiac disease affect a person's body?
People with celiac disease are encouraged to get a diagnosis and care from a skilled GI specialist. This condition can cause harm to the body when left undiagnosed or untreated. This digestive disease can produce a chronic impact on the small intestine, where most vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are absorbed by the body. When the protein gluten is absorbed in the small bowel, it triggers an immune reaction. Your body then sends a host of antibodies to protect against it. These antibodies can damage the lining of your small bowel, disrupting the body's ability to absorb nutritional value from food.
Other potential lasting impacts of celiac disease include:
- Liver conditions
- Weakened immune system
- Scarring or ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract
- Elevated risk of cancer in the intestine
- Occurrence of new food intolerances
Are there any effective treatment options for celiac disease?
Generally speaking, the best way to address celiac disease is to avoid consuming foods containing gluten. Following your diagnosis of celiac disease, you can prevent uncomfortable symptoms by not eating gluten. Over time, the intestinal lining will begin to heal and once again be able to absorb nutrients. Since there is currently no cure for this disease, those with celiac disease may have to continue to maintain a gluten-free diet for life in order to avoid damaging the small intestine even more. A few treatments that could be recommended involve:
- Prescribed medication
- Continued follow-up care
If you are looking for celiac disease treatment in San Antonio, TX, the gastrointestinal providers at San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates are here to help. While treatment is often a gluten-free diet, it is crucial to be diagnosed by a gastroenterologist before you cut out gluten altogether to verify if it even affects you.
Celiac disease vs. gluten intolerance: Is there a difference?
On the surface, celiac disease and gluten intolerance may seem similar. Both conditions lead to unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms after consuming gluten. However, the similarities end there. As mentioned above, celiac disease can cause an atypical response in the body that may harm your GI system over time. Gluten intolerance is uncomfortable, but it does not damage your GI tract. Gluten intolerance can typically be treated by supplementing digestive enzymes to reduce GI symptoms. Celiac disease symptoms and gluten intolerance symptoms are almost identical, which is why if you have such symptoms, you may want to be seen by a GI specialist to determine which condition you may have.
Get support for celiac disease in San Antonio, TX
At San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates, our team is committed to educating patients on celiac disease awareness. Every 1 in 133 people receives a diagnosis of celiac disease. Having celiac disease can change how you live your life, usually for the better. Once you’ve removed gluten from your diet, your body will start to recover from the damage caused by consuming gluten. As your body heals, the risk of getting one or more of the above long-term effects diminishes. For more information, please contact a San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates location in your community. You can rely on our gastrointestinal specialists in San Antonio, TX to help preserve and protect your GI wellness.