It’s estimated that celiac disease affects 3 million people in the United States and it can take up to four years from the onset of initial symptoms for a diagnosis to be made. At Illinois Gastroenterology Group in Elk Grove and Arlington Heights, Illinois, the skilled team specializes in diagnosing and treating celiac disease and can provide the answers and care you need. If you have concerns about celiac disease, contact the gastroenterology team by phone or online today.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that affects the small intestines. When people with celiac disease consume foods that contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, their immune systems react by attacking the small hairlike villi that line the small intestines.
Over time, the damage can become so severe that it affects nutrient absorption and leads to malnutrition.
Unfortunately, it can take a person with celiac disease as long as four years to get a formal diagnosis. You could be at risk of celiac disease if it runs in your family. It’s also more often seen in people with Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Down’s syndrome, and Addison’s disease.
In most cases, celiac disease develops during childhood.
Symptoms of celiac disease vary in both type and severity and can present differently in children than adults. Common symptoms include:
In children, celiac disease can also cause foul-smelling stools and behavior changes. Poor nutrient absorption can also affect a child’s growth and development and lead to health conditions like anemia.
The team at Illinois Gastroenterology Group might be able to determine if your symptoms are related to celiac disease through genetic testing, as well as blood tests that look for antibodies associated with the autoimmune condition. If these tests indicate celiac disease, your doctor will do an endoscopy to confirm the diagnosis.
During an endoscopy, your doctor inserts a thin tube with a light and camera on the end through your mouth, esophagus, and stomach until it reaches your small intestines. Then, your doctor evaluates the tissue and takes a biopsy, a small sample of the tissue, for evaluation.
Treatment of celiac disease is a life-long gluten-free diet. The experienced team at Illinois Gastroenterology Group provides nutrition counseling on the gluten-free diet so you know what you can and can’t eat.
Avoiding all gluten-containing foods should heal your gastrointestinal tract. The team might also recommend nutritional supplements to help improve any deficiencies.
To learn more about celiac disease and if it’s the underlying cause of your symptoms, contact Illinois Gastroenterology Group by calling the office or booking an appointment online today.