Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Researchers are studying the reasons why celiac disease affects people differently. Some people develop symptoms of celiac disease as children, others as adults. Some people with celiac disease may not have symptoms, while others may not know their symptoms are the result of celiac disease. The undamaged part of their small intestine may not be able to absorb enough nutrients to prevent symptoms from developing.
Three factors thought to play a role in when and how celiac appears are:
- The length of time a person is breastfed
- The age a person started eating foods containing gluten
- The amount of gluten-containing foods one eats.
Some studies have shown, for example, that the longer a person was breastfed, the later the symptoms of celiac disease appear and the more uncommon the symptoms.
Damage to the small intestine and the resulting nutrient absorption problems put a person with celiac disease at risk for malnutrition and anemia, as well as several diseases and other health problems.
These other complications of celiac disease can include:
- Birth defects
- Short stature.
People with celiac disease are also at increased risk for developing other types of autoimmune diseases.
The longer a person goes undiagnosed and untreated, the greater the chance of developing malnutrition and other complications. Anemia, delayed growth, and weight loss are signs of malnutrition, as the body is simply not getting enough nutrients. Malnutrition is a serious problem for children because they need adequate nutrition to develop properly.