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Celiac Disease Problems You Want to Avoid

Celiac.com 06/05/2015 - For anyone with celiac disease, following a lifelong gluten-free diet has been shown to relieve symptoms, and in celiac patients it has been shown to normalize serologic markers of celiac disease, and to restore damaged intestinal villi.

Photo: CC--MeridicanNot following a gluten-free diet, on the other hand, can result in serious complications associated with malabsorption.

When celiac disease goes untreated, when people who have celiac disease refuse to follow a gluten-free diet, chronic gluten-related inflammation and damage impairs absorption of nutrients, and likely causes malabsorption of oral medications.

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Malabsorption resulting from damaged mucosa can lead to:

  1. Nutritional deficiencies of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as the B vitamins, thereby diminishing the absorption of iron, calcium, and folic acid. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to:
  2. Iron-deficiency anemia refractory to oral iron supplementation, and potentially osteoporosis and osteopenia due to bone loss due to decreased calcium and vitamin D absorption. A combination of nutritional deficiencies and the damaging effects of systemwide chronic inflammation can cause:
  3. Reproductive abnormalities, such as delayed puberty, secondary amenorrhea, infertility, or decreased fertility. Adverse immune responses to gluten ingestion can trigger other common manifestations, such as:
  4. Dermatitis herpetiformis, a papulovesicular rash. Beyond that, problems can include:
  5. Fractures secondary to low bone mineral density. In some cases, untreated celiac disease can lead to intestinal malignancies such as:
  6. Intestinal T-cell lymphomas.
  7. Small-bowel adenocarcinoma.
  8. Esophageal cancer.
  9. B- and T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas.

Rapid, proper diagnosis and effective treatment of celiac disease are crucial to preventing a cascade of related problems that can further impair diagnosis, and cause irreparable damage to patient health.


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2 Responses:

 
carol
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
08 Jun 2015 4:11:44 PM PDT
Found that this enforces the need to stay gluten free.

 
Lorri Devlin, BSN, MS, RN
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
11 Jun 2015 7:09:16 AM PDT
Kudos for spreading the word about the harmful effects of gluten for celiacs. My dad died of the disease before anyone realized gluten had caused a lifetime of illness. He was frail, had fungal infection in his lungs, depression, neuropathy, herpetic dermatiformis and failure to thrive. My sister and I were diagnosed in our 40's. By then I had vitamin D deficiency, had been hospitalized four times with perforated intestines, and had undergone a colectomy. Since being GF, I'm completely healthy. As a registered nurse I now make sure to assess for food intolerance whenever I see a patient with rashes, asthma, or unexplained fatigue.




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