Celiac Disease | Teen Ink

Celiac Disease

January 12, 2009
By Paramore BRONZE, Seattle, Washington
Paramore BRONZE, Seattle, Washington
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

The number of people with celiac disease in the U.S. would fill 4,400 Boeing 747 airplanes.

During the 2nd century, a Greek physician named Aretaeus, recorded many medical observations. Among these was a record of a malabsorptive syndrome with chronic diarrhea. He called it "Cœliac Affection" (coeliac from Greek κοιλιακός koiliakos, abdominal). This "Cœliac Affection" is now known as the common Celiac Disease (This is also known as Celiac Sprue and Gluten Intolerance).

However, the first clear description of Celiac Disease was given by Samuel Gee in 1888.“to regulate the food is the main part of treatment. The allowance of farinaceous foods must be small, but if the patient can be cured at all, it must be by means of diet.”He was the first to suggest a dietary treatment. In the early 20th century, different diets were tested. In 1924, an American pediatrician named Sydney V. Haas found that a diet on bananas was highly effective. This stayed in vogue until 1950.That was the year when the doctoral thesis of Wim Dicke showed that the exclusion of wheat, rye, barley, and oats, led to a dramatic improvement. A protein component was found as the toxicity and was referred to as gluten.

Gluten damages the villi inside the small intestine. Villi are a very important part of digesting food. They make the passage of food slower and capture the food particles so that the blood inside the villi can absorb the nutrients from the food. When the villi are damaged, your body doesn’t get the nutrients from the food you eat. Looking sickly, pale, and being underweight is not uncommon when the villi are damaged. The only thing is, many people don’t realize that they are allergic to gluten until they are far into this stage.

Another problem with identifying the allergy to gluten is that not everyone has the same symptoms. Actually, there is no such thing as a “typical celiac”. The symptoms and ages range farther than you could imagine. Some people don’t even have any symptoms. But it’s still hurting them on the inside.

The previous paragraph was just describing what happens to some people, but not all. Some symptoms(because there is such a wide range, I can’t name them all) are abdominal cramping and bloating, appetite(almost to the point of craving), dehydration, dry skin, mouth sores, weight loss, weakness, diarrhea, and night blindness. And that’s just physical symptoms.

Some emotional symptoms are depression, mood swings, disinterest in normal activities, irritability, and an inability to concentrate. Additional conditions are iron-deficiency anemia and bone disease.

Symptoms in children are growth failure, vomiting, poor memory, crankiness, personality changes, and bloating.

Many people now know about celiac disease. There are entire bakeries and restaurants devoted to making gluten-free food. I would know. I’ve been living with celiac disease since I was one.

In the nineties, doctors mistook many different symptoms for many different diseases and allergies. And when tests failed, more were taken. Many,many,many more. When I was in the hospital, I had an IV put through my head because the doctors had run out of veins to work off of. Sure, celiac disease was on the list of things to look for. But it was basically at the bottom.

Now, celiac disease isn’t so uncommon. It’s closer to the top of the list of things to look for when a person comes into the doctor’s office with any of the symptoms that were mentioned earlier. Doctors look for it more often. And there are different tests to determine it. I had a camera put into my stomach because it was taking too long for the doctors to figure out with a week‘s worth of blood tests.. People today get blood screenings, and they find out right away.

The following are given by the Celiac Disease Center from the University of Chicago. Celiac disease affects at least 3 million Americans. Nearly 97% of those people are undiagnosed. 610,00 women in the U.S. have unexplained infertility. 36,600 of these women might never learn that celiac disease is the cause. 350,000 people in the United States are living with Down Syndrome; 12% (42,000) of them also have celiac disease. Though the numbers seem big, put into perspective, it’s not a lot. But 3 million should be enough for people to need to be informed about it.

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