Some people feel physically out of sorts, but are never able to pinpoint the problem. Others have severe digestive problems. Either could have celiac disease, which is caused by eating gluten, a protein commonly found in wheat, rye and barley.
How prevalent is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is the single most prevalent immune disease. It occurs in nearly 1% of the population. Once people stop eating gluten, the disease goes into remission. Everybody is made differently and no time frame can be placed on how long it takes before someone with celiac disease should start feeling better. On average, the period to go into remission ranges between 3-8 weeks.
What are the symptoms of celiac disease?
Many people are asymptomatic or misdiagnosed. Digestive problems such as indigestion, heartburn and diarrhea are common especially when the disease is well advanced. If you catch it in the early stages and follow a completely gluten-free diet, you can put the disease into complete remission and live a normal life with a normal life expectancy. A delay in being diagnosed dramatically increases the possibility of the consequences of celiac disease – including anemia, osteoporosis, seizures, migraines, arthritis and even cancer. If you deviate from the diet, you’ll likely develop symptoms again.
How is it diagnosed?
By a blood test that can be done in any lab. If the test is positive, it should be confirmed by an intestinal biopsy. Most people with the disease do not have obvious digestive symptoms. It’s best to be screened if you have a close relative who has the disease.
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