Celiac Disease: Forms and Treatment!
Celiac disease, also known as sprue, is a form of gluten intolerance. The small intestine consists of a thousand folds and protuberances, so-called villi, which, in turn, are covered with millions of tiny hairs. This increases the internal surface of the intestine by 300 times and the area through which nutrients are exchanged to 100 to 200 square meters. A highly effective mechanism that is also susceptible to disease. Naturally, with this trick, nature succeeds in providing a huge exchange surface in a small space. But conversely, the villi are rapidly changing when the villi are changing, leading to problems with food intake and utilization. This is exactly what happens in celiac disease.
What is celiac disease and how does it show itself?
Celiac disease is a chronic disease of the small intestine. It seems that in celiac patients, a wrong amino acid is incorporated into a body-borne protein that is used to detect enemies. As a result, gluten, a gluten protein contained in cereals, is bound to these immune cells for a longer time and triggers a foreign reaction, which is actually unnecessary.
However, the defence cells not only attack the gluten but also damage the intestinal mucosa: as a result of intolerance to gluten, the small intestine protuberances shrink. This means that fats, sugars, proteins, vitamins, minerals and even water can no longer be absorbed into the body. The lack of these substances, in turn, leads to a variety of symptoms and complaints – no two illnesses are identical.
Celiac disease, sprue or gluten intolerance?
There was previously a distinction between celiac disease and sprue: when the disease occurred in the childhood, celiac disease was diagnosed, and when diagnosed in the adult age, they were described as (local) sprue. Today we speak only of celiac disease, since it is the same disease and not, as then assumed, two different disturbances.
The terms gluten intolerance or gluten intolerance are also current. These are, moreover, more about: celiac disease can also mean gluten sensibility with a gluten intolerance. In addition to the digestive disorders, symptoms that are unusual for celiac diseases, such as a migraine, depression or muscle pain, may also occur. The gluten sensibility may occur suddenly or even temporarily.
Classical form of celiac disease
The classic symptom is diarrhoea: the undigested fats are excreted with the stool, which is therefore voluminous and foul-smelling. Those affected suffer from flatulence, lean, and are prone to iron deficiency and anaemia. Muscle wasting, water retention, increased skin pigmentation and hair loss can occur. Various signs of vitamin and calcium deficiency, B. Coagulation disorders and osteoporosis occur. After the prolonged course, symptoms may include insomnia, fatigue, or depression.
In children, symptoms are shown for the first time as soon as cereal products are begun with the addition of bread starch – usually from the 6th month of life. The babies do not have an appetite, stomach pain, a bloated belly, and often empty large, badly smelling stools. They are no longer correct and may develop signs of a blood loss and dehydration. Typical is a “sack of tobacco”, as the fat deposits are removed in the buttocks, and a discouraging, villous expression of the face as a sign of irritation up to the change of the being. Not infrequently, the child’s development stagnates or even retreats.
Atypical forms of celiac disease
Fortunately, almost half of the patients show no gastrointestinal symptoms. Instead, the disease can manifest itself only by one or more of the following symptoms:
- Skin changes (dermatitis herpetiformis during)
- Iron shortage, short stature
- Gum shrinkage
- joint pain
- Depression, irritability, fatigue
- limited fitness
- in women too frequent miscarriages or infertility
These atypical courses are difficult to detect, patients have rarely had a year-long odyssey behind them until the celiac disease is diagnosed.
What is gluten and what effect does it have?
Gluten is a gluten protein consisting of the proteins prolamin and glutelin. It has a central importance for the baking properties of flour and is found mainly in the cereals of wheat, spelt, rye, barley and oats – and thus in numerous foodstuffs.
Gluten contains gliadin, which can cause a reaction of the immune system, thus forming antibodies. These are directed against the intestinal mucosa and lead there – even in very small amounts – to inflammation and in the long term to serious damage. The villi flatten, the surface shrinks, no more digestive enzymes are formed. These processes are also referred to as a gluten-sensitive enteropathy.
As a result, no more nutrients can be absorbed by the body. If the duration of the disease is prolonged, the ongoing inflammatory reactions can lead to an increased risk of cancer (lymphoma).
What therapy is there in celiac disease?
The only treatment so far is the complete, lifelong renouncement of gluten-containing foods. Only in this way can the small intestinal mucosa recover and regain its function. Even in the smallest amounts of gluten, however, damage and discomfort occur again.
In most cases, the symptoms improve a few weeks after the change of the diet and then disappear completely.