What Is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is genetically inherited autoimmune disease characterized by sensitivity to proteins found in the grains wheat, rye, and barley. When these grains are eaten by a person with celiac disease, they trigger an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine.
This decrease the ability of the intestine to absorb nutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. When nutrients are not absorbed, side effects can include weight loss, diarrhea, constipation, tiredness, excess gas, vitamin and mineral deficiencies (for example, iron, folate, calcium, fat-soluble vitamins), iron-deficiency anemia, and bone disease.
Persons with celiac disease should follow a life-long gluten free diet, strictly avoiding wheat, rye, and barley proteins. A gluten free diet allows the intestine to heal and improves gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation, excess gas, and bloating. Strictly following this diet also help prevent conditions that may be caused by long-term untreated celiac disease. Such as lymphoma (a cancer of the lymph tissue) and osteoporosis (the chronic loss of bone mass).
Cause and risk factors of celiac disease
The underlying cause of celiac disease is genetic defect that cause the body’s immune system to produce antibodies, which, in the presence of gluten, attack the lining of the small intestine. As a result, the tiny, fingerlike protrusions (villi) that line the small intestine become damaged and can no longer absorb nutrients properly. Impaired nutrient absorption in turn causes the person to become malnourished, irrespective of the amount of food eaten.
Because celiac disease is a genetic disorder, people with family members who have the disease are at an increased risk of developing it themselves. A genetic predisposition to celiac disease combined with various trigger factors including surgery, pregnancy, child birth, viral infection, and severe emotional stress, may lead to the onset of the disease.
Symptoms and signs of celiac disease
The symptoms associated with celiac disease vary greatly among individuals, sometimes affecting different areas of the body and varying in severity. One person may have severe physical symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain, whereas another may experience emotional symptoms, including irritability, depression. Irritability is one of the most common symptoms found among children with celiac disease.
Other symptoms of the disease include gas, recurring abdominal bloating and pain, weight loss, fatigue, bone or joint pain, seizures, muscle cramps, tooth discoloration or loss of enamel, and itchy skin rashes such as dermatitis. Some people with celiac disease have no symptoms, although they are still at risk of developing complications.
Because celiac disease impairs the absorption of nutrients, people with disease are at risk of developing complications such as malnutrition and anemia. Malnutrition is especially serious for children because immune system as a protective mechanism when foreign substance enters the body, auto antibodies are proteins that react against the body’s own molecules or tissues. Tests therefore can be carried out to measure the blood levels of these specific auto antibodies and in turn diagnose celiac disease. However, screening for the disease is not carried out routinely.
Evaluation of celiac disease
Intestinal biopsy of patients with celiac disease who are on wheat containing diet revels the typical flattened villous lesions and elongated hyperplastic crypts and lamina propria expanded by plasma cells, eosinophils, and lymphocytes.
Severely ill children with “celiac crisis” may benefit dramatically from the use of corticosteroids. As the patient recovers, the appetite increases with an increase in weight over several weeks. The diet should be supplemented with vitamins, including fat-soluble vitamins, folic acid, and iron. Specific nutritional deficiencies must be treated appropriately. It is necessary to monitor dietary compliance through careful clinical and biochemical assessment of the patient.
Treatments and prevention 0f celiac disease
The treatment for celiac disease is to eat to gluten free diet. This is also the only known means of preventing symptoms from occurring because the underlying genetic cause cannot be treated or prevented. With the help of dietitian, patients can learn to read ingredient lists when making food choices to identify foods that contain gluten. The foods to avoid are wheat, rye, and barley, as well as all food products made from these grains. To stay healthy the patients must follow this gluten free dist for the rest of his or her life because eating even a small amount of gluten can lead to damage of the small intestine. Many grocery stores now carry a variety of gluten free bread and pasta products, and thus people with celiac disease can enjoy a well balanced diet with a wide variety of foods. In some patients additional complications may develop as a result of the celiac disease, in which case further treatment may be required. For example, if a patient develops malnutrition, then he or she will require treatment with nutritional supplements.
For most patients a gluten free diet stops the symptoms, allow the intestine to heal, and prevents further intestinal damage. In children the intestine usually heals in three to six months, in adults healing may take up to two years. When the small intestine has healed, the intestinal villi can then resume absorbing nutrients from food into the bloodstream. In some patients a gluten free diet seems to be ineffective, resulting in a condition known as unresponsive celiac disease. However, it is often found in such cases that trace amounts of gluten are still present in the patient’s diet. A dietitian may be needed to identify the source of the gluten because gluten is sometimes hidden in foods. Hidden sources of gluten include additives such as modified food starch, preservatives, stabilizers, thickeners, and texture modifiers.
Homeopathic treatment of celiac disease symptoms
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat celiac disease symptoms but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several medicines are available for celiac disease symptoms treatment that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensation, modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are some specific head homeopathic remedies which are quite helpful in the treatment of celiac disease symptoms:
Lycopodium, Carbo Veg, Arsenic Album, Silicea, Nux vomica, Bryonia, Sulphur, Calcaria Phos, Natrum Mur, Mag Carb and many other medicines..
- Tricia Thompson- Celiac disease nutrition guide; 2006; 1
- Marshall Cavendish Corporation- Diseases and Disorders, Volume1; 2007 Page; 181-182
- Ronald E. Kleinman- Atlas of pediatric gastrointestinal; 1998; 129-130
Celiac Disease Cases Cured with Homeopathic Medicine