What do you know about celiac disease? It’s an inflammatory digestive condition where the body sees gluten as an invader that must be attacked. That immune response to gluten ends up damaging the lining of the small intestine and makes it harder for the body to absorb nutrients. It is important that home health care providers also know what to look out for.
It’s estimated that around two million Americans have the disease. If you have a family member with celiac disease, you’re more likely to develop it. Learn more about this inflammatory disease during Celiac Disease Awareness Month.
Know the Symptoms
One issue with celiac disease is that the symptoms are so common. Abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, lactose intolerance, and nausea are common. Vomiting can occur.
From there, the disease can make you feel tired, depressed, and anxious. It can cause headaches, joint pain, and a rash. A gluten-free diet can ease the symptoms, but they may return if even the slightest amount of gluten is accidentally ingested due to cross-contamination.
There’s no specific age on the onset. Some children are diagnosed early in life, often before the age of 12. More than a third of celiac disease patients are diagnosed after the age of 20. It’s possible to have the disease and not yet realize it, as the diagnosis can take years to reach.
Is Celiac Disease Dangerous?
If you ignore the symptoms, long-term complications may arise. People with celiac have a higher risk of anemia and malnutrition. That can lead to osteoporosis and problems with the nervous system. The Celiac Disease Foundation reports that celiac disease doubles your risk of coronary artery disease and quadruples your risk of bowel cancer.
People with celiac disease often develop other inflammatory diseases or conditions. Diabetes is one of them. Liver disease, thyroid disease, and rheumatic diseases are also diagnosed in those who have celiac disease.
What Do You Do If You Suspect You, Your Mom, or Your Dad Has It?
If you or one of your parents suspects that celiac disease is possible, talk to the family doctor about tests that check the blood for certain factors. If you have a rash, a dermatologist will test a scraping of the skin cells. A sample of the small intestines may also be tested.
How Home Health Care Providers can Help
Once the diagnosis is made, work begins on a gluten-free diet. It can take many medical appointments to get the proper diagnosis, and that’s where home health care aides come in. If you’re undergoing these tests, hire caregivers to stay with your parents while you’re at the doctor.
If your mom or dad may have celiac disease and you cannot afford to keep taking days off, arrange caregivers to handle the transportation. Call our home health care agency to find out more about the ways caregivers help.