Symptoms of Celiac Disease. The disease with a thousand faces

celiac disease symptoms
  • Celiac disease can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. And this happens mainly because this disorder affects people differently and symptoms may not always be clear indicators.
  • Celiac disease is easier to diagnose in the case of infants and children because they usually present digestive symptoms.
  • According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, celiac disease can be categorized into three types: classical, non-classical, and silent
  • There are certain criteria that make people prone to developing celiac disease.

The symptoms of celiac disease are hard to tell if they’re not the classic bloating and diarrhea or even anemia.

There’s a reason why celiac is commonly called the disease with a thousand faces, because there could be so many symptoms that you might not connect to celiac.

In this article we will try and outline the celiac symptoms and how to recognize if you have it or not.

Despite being a serious autoimmune disorder that may trigger additional long-term health complications, celiac disease can sometimes be difficult to diagnose.

And this happens mainly because this disorder affects people differently and symptoms may not always be clear indicators. In fact, there are celiac people who have no symptoms at all but still suffer from this condition.

And the fact that people may develop celiac disease at any age makes it even harder to diagnose.

symptoms of Celiac disease – Most frequent symptoms

Researches in the field have demonstrated that there are over 200 reported celiac disease symptoms. We will now have a look at the most frequent celiac disease symptoms in the case of infants/children and adults.

Infants and children

Celiac disease is easier to diagnose in the case of infants and children because they usually present digestive symptoms. Here are the most frequent symptoms:

Adults

Adults may not always present digestive symptoms. Here are the most common celiac disease symptoms in adults:

  • Unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
  • Unexplained weight loss/gain
  • Neurological disorders such as fatigue, seizures, migraines, depression, anxiety
  • Osteoporosis or osteopenia
  • Peripheral neuropathy (numbness, pain, or tingling in hands and feet)
  • Skin rashes (dermatitis herpetiformis)
  • Arthritis
  • Bone/joint pain

Types of celiac disease

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, celiac disease can be categorized into three types:

Classical Celiac Disease

This is the typical celiac disease case in which patients report clear symptoms such as diarrhea, pale, foul-smelling tools, malabsorption, and growth deficiencies in the case of children.

Non-classical Celiac Disease

In this case, the gastrointestinal symptoms are not severe with patients generally reporting pain, bloating, and abdominal discomfort.

Among the most common reported symptoms, we can highlight: vitamin deficiencies, anemia, migraines, fatigue, miscarriage and infertility, peripheral neuropathy, itchy skin rashes, etc. 

Silent Celiac Disease

Commonly referred to as asymptomatic celiac disease, this is probably the trickiest type of celiac disease. Patients do not experience any symptoms at all. However, their small intestine is damaged by the ingestion of gluten.

And this is where preventive screening plays a crucial role. If you meet any of the following criteria, play safe by getting yourself screened for celiac disease:

  • You have first-degree relatives who suffer from celiac disease (your chances of developing this condition is of 1 in 10)
  • If you have second-degree relatives who suffer from this condition (your chances of developing the condition is 1 in 39)
  • If you present classical symptoms compounded with other conditions such as premature onset osteoporosis, Down syndrome, unexplained high liver transaminase levels, autoimmune hepatitis, unexplained iron deficiency anemia
  • Screening is highly recommended if you suffer from the following conditions: Type 1 diabetes, Sjögren’s and Turner syndromes, autoimmune thyroid disease, irritable bowel syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, cerebellar ataxia, selective IgA deficiency
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To sum up

Patients can develop celiac disease at any age. Though some of the affected persons can report clinically evident symptoms of the disease that make clear indicators for physicians, some others experience no symptoms at all, making correct diagnosing a very complicated task.

In fact, celiac disease is often misdiagnosed with lactose intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome. However, there are certain criteria that make people prone to developing celiac disease. And, if you meet any of them, you should definitely get yourself screened. 

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About the Author: Johnny

I am the senior editor and writer of Gluten Free Heroes, before that, I wrote for various well established online magazines about food and health. I love working out, traveling and eating healthy.