Despite recent trends toward going “gluten free,” celiac disease is something with the potential to be much more serious than a simple gluten allergy. This disease affects millions worldwide, with an estimated 2.5 million going undiagnosed in America alone, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. There is considerable risk for long-term health complications in affected individuals who continue untreated. At Premier Gastroenterology, PC, our highly skilled Southaven gastroenterologist can work with you to determine an accurate diagnosis.
If you have been suffering from a prolonged illness without any explanation, you should consider being screened for celiac disease. Contact us today to schedule an appointment; we serve patients throughout the greater Memphis area.
Celiac disease is a hereditary disorder, meaning it tends to run in families, which affects the immune system. In affected patients, the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye grains called gluten triggers an immune response directed at the small intestine. The villi – small projections that aid in absorbing nutrients from food – which line the small intestine become damaged during these attacks over time. This results in the body being unable to properly absorb nutrients.
Celiac is a difficult disease to diagnose, because symptoms can vary so greatly from patient to patient. Children, for example, are more likely to experience digestive symptoms than adults. Some people display no symptoms at all. There is also no specified age range in which a person could develop the disease.
Regardless of the severity, or absence, of symptoms, those with Celiac disease are at much greater risk for long-term complications including infertility, migraines, a variety of central and peripheral nervous symptom disorders, and several types of cancer.
Currently, the only treatment for patients with celiac disease is a very strict gluten-free diet. Even those without overt symptoms report that a switch to this diet improves their overall health and well-being!
With an estimated 80% of celiac disease sufferers currently undiagnosed, screenings are extremely important. If you believe you may have this disease, or if a family member has been diagnosed, our Southaven gastroenterology team may be able to help you.
Call us today at (662) 349-6113 to speak to our physician. We are eager to help you find the treatment you need so you can enjoy your life again!