5 Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease


Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is estimated to affect nearly 1% of the population in the US. It's a serious condition that can cause a host of issues, including nutritional deficiencies and digestive issues. This means it's definitely something that you want to get diagnosed as soon as possible. So, in this article we're looking at five of the major signs of celiac disease.

Number one, diarrhea.

Frequently experiencing loose, watery stools 
is one of the first big symptoms that people experience before they're diagnosed with Celiac disease. In one small study, 79% of celiac patients reported experiencing diarrhea prior to treatment. Now, following treatment, just 17% of patients continued to have chronic diarrhea. Other studies confirm that this is a major symptom of untreated celiac disease, but of course there are so many things that could cause recurring diarrhea, so you might want to see if you have any of these other symptoms as well.

Number two, fatigue.

Decreased energy levels and fatigue 
are really prevalent with untreated celiac disease. One study of 51 celiac patients found that those who are untreated had significantly more severe fatigue and fatigue-related problems than those on a gluten-free diet. Another study found that those with celiac disease were more likely to have sleep disorders, which could also contribute to fatigue. Additionally, untreated celiac disease can damage the small intestine, which can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which could also ultimately cause fatigue.

Number three, iron-deficiency anemia.

So celiac disease can impair nutrient absorption 
and this can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. This a condition caused by a lack of red blood cells in the body. Symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia include fatigue, weakness, chest pain, headaches, and dizziness. One study looked at 34 children with celiac disease and found that nearly 15% had mild to moderate iron-deficiency anemia. Another study with 727 celiac patients reported that 23% were anemic. Additionally, those with anemia were twice as likely to have severe damage to the small intestine as well as a low bone mass caused by celiac disease. Just be mindful, there are other causes of iron-deficiency anemia as well, such as overall poor diet, long-term use of pain relievers like Aspirin, and blood loss from heavy menstrual bleeding or peptic ulcers.

Number four, weight loss.

A sharp, unintentional drop in weight loss 
or difficulty maintaining weight is also
another symptom of celiac disease. 
One study of 112 participants with celiac disease found that weight loss affected 23% of patients. It was one of the most common symptoms following diarrhea, fatigue, and stomach pain. The reason this happens again is because the body loses some of its ability to absorb nutrients, and therefore calories as well, and this can lead to malnutrition and unintentional weight loss.

Number five, itchy rash.

Celiac disease may cause dermatitis herpetiformis, 
a type of itchy, blistering skin rash that can occur on the elbows, knees, or buttocks. Now, approximately 17% of those with celiac disease experience this rash, and it is one of the tell-tale symptoms that lead to a diagnosis. It may also develop after diagnosis 
as a sign of poor adherence to treatment. 
Interestingly enough, some people may develop this skin rash symptoms without actually experiencing the typical digestive symptoms that you would see with undiagnosed celiac disease. In fact, fewer than 10% of celiac patients who do experience the skin rash actually get digestive symptoms from celiac disease.
So, it's kind of almost like you either get the skin rash 
or you get the digestive symptoms. As you can see, if left untreated, celiac disease can have major health issues, including digestive problems, nutritional deficiencies, skin issues, unintentional weight loss, and fatigue. If you suspect you may have celiac disease, you need to get tested by your doctor as soon as possible.

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