Celiac disease is a condition where the immune system reacts to gluten, a type of protein in barley and rye. It is an autoimmune disorder, this occurs when the immune system do not function well, and starts to attack the organs and the tissues. The immune system of the body is designed to guard against foreign invaders. When people with this condition eat foods with gluten, the immune system create antibodies to this protein attacking the lining of the intestines. The causes of the inflammations in the intestines end up damaging the villi on the wall of the small intestines. Damaging the villi, absorption of the nutrients is hampered with and malnourishment follows regardless of how much one eats (Fasano 2012).
Proteins are created from long strands of amino acids. Each of the protein strands is created using specific sequences of amino acids. The problem associated with gluten is that it consists of two types of amino acids, proline and glutamine; these two are called prolamines, human lack enzymes to break down proline, instead of breaking it down into two strands of amino acids, breaking down stops at a peptide state, what is a rather short chain. Gluten breaks down into different peptides causing a lot of problems. Gluten is not really the main issue, however, this short strand of amino acid is the one that cannot be digested any further, a vicious circle of effects is experienced causing increase in toxicity of the peptides. Again people with celiac disease have a particular type of APC that is only specific to the genotype. Another problem is that the people with this condition make antibodies against gliadin (protein found in wheat gluten), that is, the enzyme that transforms gliadin (Hausch 2002). Gliadin can bind the enzyme, so that the body thinks it is a threat, and then attacks the enzyme. This tends to hamper the whole functioning of the body system, especially as this enzyme has other functions in the body. The resulting consequences are inducement of suicide or what is rather referred to as apoptosis in the nerve.
Inflammation and poor dieting could lead to other problems that may affect different organs and tissues of the body. The health problems associated with this condition include deficiency of iron that leads to low red blood count, what is rather called anemia. Secondly, deficiency of vitamin, low mineral density in the born, also known as osteoporosis, skin rushes that are itchy, also known as dermatitis herpetiformis and other health problems consisting of enamel defects, joint pains, poor growth, puberty delays, lack of fertility, multiple miscarriages, and chronic fatigue among other conditions are associated with this problem (Matysiak-Budnik 2008).
Most of the time, celiac disease is not diagnosed, since most of the associated symptoms and signs are not specific, that implies that they may result from a lot of disorders. It is however very important to note that most of the people who have these nonspecific problems don’t primarily have the celiac conditions. Unfortunately, a diagnosis of celiac disease can only be made more than one decade after a symptom begins. Some studies have shown that other people have the silent form of celiac disease, where there are no symptoms of the disorder; however, these people have immune proteins in their blood, also known as antibodies, mostly found in celiac disease (Fasano 2012). A biopsy done on these bodies could reveal an inflammatory damage.
The prevalence of celiac disease has been estimated to affect somewhere about one in one hundred people around the globe. This is caused primarily by the increase in particular variants of HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1 genes. These are genes that give instructions for protein making that in turn perform important roles in the immunity of a person. These genes occur in a family of genes referred to as the human leukocyte antigen complex. The human leukocyte antigen helps in distinguishing the protein of the body from those made by the foreigners, for instance, bacteria and viruses. Proteins formed by the genes named, bind together to create a functional protein, complex in nature, and is called antigen-binding DQαβ heterodimer (Hausch 2002). This complex ends up attaching on the outside of the protein segments present on the surface of the cells of some immune systems.
Celiac disease is hereditary, however the pattern of inheritance is not clearly known. If a doctor suspects that one has this disease, a careful physical exam is necessary, and the doctor discusses the medical history, a blood test may also be done to indicate particular increase in certain types of antibodies that are fundamentally found in the people with the celiac condition (Matysiak-Budnik 2008). Nutritional deficiencies are also tested, for instance, blood test for testing the levels of iron in the blood, stool is tested to detect the fat, especially since this condition results to fat being prevented from absorption.The sure way of preventing one from this cycle is to halt the attack of the primary antigen gluten; this implies a constant diet of a strict gluten food for the entire life of an individual.
Fasano, A. Intestinal Permeability and Its Regulation by Zonulin: Diagnostic and Therapeutic Implications. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2012.
Hausch, F., et al. " Intestinal digestive resistance of immunodominant gliadin peptides." American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 2002: 283.
Matysiak-Budnik, T., et al. "Secretory IgA mediates retrotranscytosis of intact gliadin peptides via the transferrin receptor in celiac disease." Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2008: 205.