Do I have celiac disease? It is a question to talk with your doctor about, but not one to put off. Symptoms of celiac disease vary from person to person. A firm diagnosis could improve your quality of life or even save your life.
Do I Have Celiac Disease? Understanding Symptoms
Symptoms of celiac disease are a good indication that the condition is present. If you feel, you have some of these symptoms; contact your doctor for a full and formal diagnosis. Keep in mind that the number and intensity of symptoms often defines the severity of the condition.
- Common symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
- Abdominal distention, gas, indigestion and bloating, regularly
- Chronic or occasional diarrhea
- A loss of appetite, or a significant increase in appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Stools that are foul smelling, bloody or fatty in composition
- Lactose intolerance
- Bone and joint pain
- Growth delay present in children
- Hair loss
- Dental enamel defects
- Muscle cramps
If you believe you have any of these symptoms of celiac disease; contact your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
How Celiac Disease Is Diagnosed
Anyone who believes they could have celiac disease should speak to their doctor about the condition as soon as possible. This is especially important if symptoms become severe, chronic or if they have developed more recently as this is an indication of a condition that is worsening.
For you to formally have the condition diagnosed, consult with your primary care physician first. This doctor will run blood work for you, a process that takes only minutes. You do want to mention to your doctor your concern over celiac disease to ensure the proper tests are run.
Antibody tests are used to determine if you could be suffering from celiac disease. These tests include the tissue transglutaminase or (tTG IgA test), anti gliadin antibody text (IgA & IgG test) and the anti endomysial antibody test (IgA EMA test). These tests tell a doctor conclusively if you have this condition.
If these tests come back positive, your doctor is likely to refer you to another doctor, a gastroenterologist specialist. This doctor will likely want a biopsy of the tissues from the small intestine. This procedure is somewhat invasive, but it provides doctor's with information on your condition, including how severe it is. The biopsy may show damage to the villi, which line the walls of the small intestine and have the job of absorbing nutrients into the body.
Common Misdiagnosis Does Occur
Although the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness states that one out of every 133 Americans likely have celiac disease of some level, it is common for the condition to be overlooked or misdiagnosed.It is commonly mistaken for:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Psychological stress, nerves or even imagination
If you are asking, "Do I have celiac disease?" that must mean you recognize that you may have some of these symptoms. If so, take time now to contact your doctor to request specific screenings for the condition.
Celiac Disease in Children
It is harder to diagnose celiac disease in children. In fact, a child is likely to be unable to communicate the way he or she feels, especially at a young age. However, there are telltale signs parents can look for. In all children, slow development, low or no weight gain and loss of weight are key symptoms of the condition.
For children under three years of age, other symptoms include:
- Failure to grow
- Projectile vomiting
- Distention or bloating of the abdominal area
- Failure to thrive
In older children, additional symptoms may include:
- Crankiness, moodiness
- Difficulty concentrating on tasks, school or play
- Poor memory
- Changes in personality
If you believe your child may have celiac disease, follow the same steps as above to have them formally diagnosised. In most cases, proper treatment will reverse any of the symptoms and damage the disease causes, especially when it is caught right away. However, it is a life threatening condition if left untreated.