Can You Develop Celiac Disease Later In Life?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects a person’s digestive system mainly the small intestine. It is triggered by the consumption of gluten a protein found in wheat barley rye.
Celiac disease is typically diagnosed in childhood; however research has shown that adults can also develop the condition later in life.
Understanding Celiac Disease
In people with celiac disease their immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the small intestine when gluten is consumed. This results in damage to the villi the small finger-like projections that line the intestine making it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients from food.
Symptoms of celiac disease can include bloating abdominal pain diarrhea fatigue headaches anemia. If left untreated the condition can lead to serious health complications such as malnutrition osteoporosis even certain types of cancer.
Late Onset Celiac Disease
Late onset celiac disease refers to individuals who develop the condition later in life typically after age 60. While the exact cause of late onset celiac disease is unknown researchers have suggested that it may be triggered by factors such as stress infection surgery or medication use.
Symptoms of late onset celiac disease may not be as apparent as those in childhood onset celiac disease making it difficult to diagnose. Common symptoms in older adults may include anemia bone thinning neurological issues such as numbness or tingling in the hands feet.
Diagnosing celiac disease involves a blood test to look for specific antibodies as well as an intestinal biopsy to confirm damage to the villi. If diagnosed with late onset celiac disease treatment involves eliminating gluten from the diet which can be challenging for older adults who may have established eating habits.
A gluten-free diet can be expensive require substantial changes to one’s lifestyle. In some cases a patient may need to take supplements to replenish lost nutrients. It is important to note that individuals who do not maintain a strict gluten-free diet are at risk for complications associated with celiac disease.
In conclusion celiac disease can develop at any age awareness of late-onset celiac disease is important for both healthcare professionals individuals with symptoms. If you are experiencing any symptoms or suspect that you may have celiac disease seek medical attention get tested. Early diagnosis treatment can prevent further damage to your health improve your quality of life.
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