Celiac Disease Awareness Month: The Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Most individuals are familiar with the protein known as gluten. These days, it’s common to know people that follow a gluten-free life even if you’re not adhering to one in your own life. Gluten intolerance, however, may point to a more concerning issue – a health complication called celiac disease. At Digestive Health Associates of Texas, it's our aim to help individuals understand the signs of celiac disease and develop ways to live with this condition. There's no better time to learn about the symptoms, signs, treatments for, and causes of celiac disease than the month of May, recognized as Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Keep reading to learn additional details about celiac disease from our Dallas, TX gastrointestinal experts.

What should I know about celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that results in damage to the small bowel when gluten is eaten. With this hereditary disease, the body is prompted to cause an immune reaction following the consumption of gluten that can injure the villi, or the small fingerlike fringe lining of the small bowel. This prevents the body from taking in nutrients as needed.

At Digestive Health Associates of Texas, we seek to supply people with specific details about celiac disease given that approximately 1 out of 100 individuals live with this issue. People with celiac disease are at higher risk of developing atherosclerotic heart disease (coronary artery disease) and are four times more likely to get small bowel cancer.

What are the signs of celiac disease?

It's estimated that around 2.5 million individuals in the United States have undiagnosed cases of celiac disease. It's highly important to recognize the symptoms of this condition, as when left untreated, celiac disease may cause serious long-term medical complications.

Common symptoms and signs of celiac disease involve:

  • Dermatitis herpetiformis rash, commonly on the elbows, knees, or buttocks (known as “celiac rash”)
  • Tooth decay
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Tingling, numbness, or pain in the feet
  • Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Loose bowel movements
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Joint or bone pain
  • Fainting or weakness
  • Excess gas

How is celiac disease diagnosed?

The gastroenterologists at Digestive Health Associates of Texas commonly perform diagnostic evaluations and help patients with celiac disease in Dallas, TX manage this condition. To conduct a test for celiac disease, we’ll begin by gathering in-depth information about your family and health history. Because having a first-degree family member with celiac disease carries a 10% chance of getting the condition, it's imperative to evaluate family history at the beginning. After that, our team will learn about your symptoms and conduct a physical exam. Our doctors may analyze the following when carrying out this exam:

  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Certain sounds emanating from the abdomen
  • Skin rashes
  • Weight loss

We may additionally perform a variety of celiac disease tests, such as blood tests, biopsies of a skin rash or the small bowel, DNA testing, and further options. Test results can offer us a more in-depth understanding of your symptoms and any possible autoimmune disorders related to celiac disease.

What are the treatment options for celiac disease?

Even though celiac disease can be serious if left untreated, it can be easy to manage. Our doctors will generally suggest treating celiac disease with a gluten-free diet, which includes avoiding specific grains, like barley, rye, and wheat. There is a large body of information pertaining to gluten-free diets on the Web these days, but our GI doctors recommend seeking help from a dietitian who can help facilitate this transition. Gluten is frequently found in a number of items of which you may not be aware. Some common substances that can have gluten are:

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

Find treatment for celiac disease in Dallas, TX

Celiac disease includes much more than having an intolerance to gluten. It’s a disease that targets the small intestine and can result in long-term damage in the absence of treatment. If you or a loved one faces any symptoms of celiac disease or you have a sibling or parent with celiac disease, please schedule an appointment at Digestive Health Associates of Texas to screen for celiac disease. To discover more about gastrointestinal issues or to seek help for celiac disease in Dallas, TX, please get in touch with one of our GI offices today.