Diverse Celiac Disease Symptoms Cause Problems with Diagnosis

November 12, 2012

Diverse Celiac Disease Symptoms Cause Problems with Diagnosis

Celiac disease is a disease which is not as well known as many other conditions yet it affects many people. As many as 1% of all Americans may suffer from it, according to a study. Celiac disease symptoms can affect most areas in the human body or show no symptoms at all.

The condition known as celiac disease generally affects the small intestine and can affect people of all ages from infants upwards. It is caused by a form of gluten present in wheat which causes an inflammation in the small intestine tissue which then affects which nutrients can be effectively absorbed.

When celiac disease symptoms are present they can be diverse, from diarrhea to constipation, or both intermittently, stomach pain, bloatedness and flatulence. Weight loss may appear in some people and weight gain in others and some people are lethargic and suffer from fatigue. Heart burn is also common.

It seems that no two people display exactly the same celiac disease symptoms because of the disease’s ability to affect all the diverse areas of the body in such different manners. Because of this the rates of correct diagnosis are lower then many other conditions. This has led to a campaign raising awareness of the condition and it appears to have been successful as the rate of correct diagnoses appears to be on the rise. There have been cases previously where patients have had to wait up to a decade before the correct diagnosis was received.

Celiac disease symptoms range from pain in the stomach, fatigue, diarrhea which smells worse than usual and may float on top of the water, and weight loss. However to add to the difficulty in diagnosing the diarrhea may not present itself in some patients, they may have constipation, others may put some weight on and other people may not have any symptoms. Some studies found that about75% of celiac disease sufferers displayed gastrointestinal symptoms of some kind and of those recently diagnosed, a half suffered from chronic diarrhea. And there are cases of patients having both diarrhea and constipation at different times and switching between them frequently.

Another common problem related to the gastric system is that of flatulence. Many celiac disease sufferers report that they have too much wind to the point that it is painful and causes abdominal bloating. Other celiac disease symptoms are heartburn, nausea and lactose intolerance. It seems that those suffering celiac disease without being diagnosed are more likely to develop gall bladder disease or pancreatitis.

Whatever the case celiac disease can appear anywhere in your body. Bones, skin and joints can all be affected. However all of the most commonly seen celiac disease symptoms are also symptoms commonly seen in many other conditions, another factor leading to delays in accurate diagnosis. There is only one accurate method of diagnosing celiac disease with any accuracy and that is to have an intestinal biopsy looking for villous atrophy.

Celiac disease is incurable but can be controlled quite easily. Diagnosis is the key and once diagnosed and put on a gluten free diet most, if not all, of the celiac disease symptoms will disappear and any increased risk of developing some cancers will return to the same risk as the rest of the population.

Not surprisingly those with undiagnosed celiac disease are more prone to depression and other psychological disorders such as irritability and anxiety. Other areas of concern commonly seen are people with severe fatigue and lethargy, to the point where normal living has been seriously curtailed. This combined with a higher rate of insomnia found in celiac disease sufferers shows just how debilitating the condition can be.

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