Celiac Disease Awareness Month: Discover the Signs, Causes, and Treatments

Celiac Disease Awareness

Most individuals have heard of the protein known as gluten. These days, it’s common to know some people that follow a gluten-free lifestyle even if you’re not following one in your own life. Having a gluten intolerance, however, could be a sign of a more concerning issue – a health condition known as celiac disease. At Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates, it’s our goal to help individuals recognize the symptoms and signs of celiac disease and learn how to best live with this health problem. There's no better month to learn about celiac disease signs, symptoms, causes, and treatments than May, recognized as Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Read on to find out additional details about celiac disease from our New Orleans, LA gastroenterology team.

What should I know about celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that results in damage to the small bowel when gluten is consumed. In the presence of this hereditary disease, the body will create an immune reaction following the consumption of gluten that can injure the villi, or the thin fingerlike fringe lining of the small intestine. This prohibits the body from absorbing nutrients properly.

At Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates, we want to supply patients with helpful information since approximately 1 out of 100 people suffers from celiac disease. Patients who have celiac disease have a higher risk of developing atherosclerotic heart disease (coronary artery disease) and are four times more likely to get cancer of the small intestine.

What are the signs of celiac disease?

An estimated 2.5 million individuals in the United States are undiagnosed with celiac disease. It's vital to recognize the symptoms of this condition, as when left untreated, it can result in concerning chronic health issues.

Common symptoms and signs of celiac disease are:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Gassiness
  • Dental caries
  • Symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Loose stools
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Weakness or fainting
  • Numbness, tingling, or pain in the feet
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis rash, typically on the knees, elbows, or buttocks (called “celiac rash”)

How is celiac disease detected?

The GI doctors at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates carry out screenings for the disease and help those with celiac disease in New Orleans, LA control this condition. To test a patient for celiac disease, our experts will start by obtaining an in-depth family and health history. Given that individuals having an immediate family member with celiac disease possess a 10% chance of being affected by the disease, it is essential to analyze family history first. Following this, our doctors will evaluate symptoms and perform a physical exam. Our physicians may look at the following factors when conducting this exam:

  • Loss of weight
  • Certain sounds emanating from the abdominal area
  • Skin rashes
  • Abdominal swelling or pain

We might also recommend one or more celiac disease tests, which could include blood work, biopsies of a skin rash or the small bowel, DNA testing, and more. Results of these tests may allow for a more in-depth understanding of any symptoms and the possible autoimmune disorders associated with celiac disease.

How is celiac disease treated?

Although celiac disease can lead to serious consequences if left untreated, it can be rather easy to manage. Our doctors will usually suggest a celiac disease treatment of a gluten-free diet, which includes avoiding specific grains, such as barley, wheat, and rye. There is a considerable body of information about gluten-free diets on the Web these days; however, our gastrointestinal specialists advise meeting with a nutritional expert who can help guide this transition, Gluten is frequently found in an array of household items, some of which may seem surprising. A few common things that might have gluten are:

  • Toothpaste
  • Lip gloss or lipstick
  • Play-Doh
  • Certain OTC medications

Get care for celiac disease in New Orleans, LA

Celiac disease really includes far more than having an intolerance to gluten. The condition attacks the small bowel and can lead to ongoing damage in the absence of treatment. If you or a member of your family faces any symptoms of celiac disease or you have a parent or sibling with the condition, please schedule a visit at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates to test for celiac disease. To find out more about GI issues or to receive help for celiac disease in New Orleans, LA, get in touch with our GI practice right away.