At least 3 million American men, women, and children have celiac disease, a digestive disorder that impacts your ability to absorb nutrients from the food you eat. As a skilled gastrointestinal specialist, Suhail Salem, MD, brings his advanced training in diagnosing and treating GI disorders like celiac disease at his practice in Northridge, California. If you’re having digestive problems, call Suhail Salem, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.
Celiac disease is a gastrointestinal autoimmune disorder associated with eating foods containing gluten. This type of protein is found in wheat, rye, and barley.
When you have celiac disease, eating gluten causes your immune system to misfire, and your small intestine overreacts. This activity can lead to damage in the lining of your small intestine, which keeps your body from effectively absorbing nutrients in the food you eat, no matter how much food you consume.
The precise cause of celiac disease isn’t known, but it’s likely due to a combination of factors, including your genes, gastrointestinal infections, and gut bacteria.
The signs of celiac disease can vary, especially between adults and children. In most cases, people with celiac disease experience digestive issues that include:
Adults with celiac disease can also have health problems that aren’t associated with their digestion, like anemia, mouth ulcers, and headaches. Children often show more signs of nutritional issues, like delayed puberty and infants who fail to thrive.
Without treatment, celiac disease can lead to issues like weight loss, diarrhea, anemia, and bloating. You can also develop serious health complications, including reproductive issues, weakened bones, nervous system problems, and cancer.
Dr. Salem usually relies on blood tests to diagnose celiac disease. Based on these results, he might also recommend additional testing like endoscopy to evaluate your small intestine and look for signs of damage. In some cases, Dr. Salem might also take a tissue sample for analysis.
After reaching a diagnosis, Dr. Salem works closely with you to manage your celiac disease by recommending a strict, gluten-free diet that eliminates foods containing gluten. When you remove gluten from your diet, the inflammation in your small intestine subsides, your symptoms subside, and your health improves.
In addition to dietary changes, Dr. Salem might also recommend supplements or medication to improve your nutrition and reduce inflammation.
For more information on diagnosing and managing celiac disease, call Suhail Salem, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.