What is Celiac Disease? Answering Common Questions:

Although many people are familiar with the term, Celiac Disease, or aware of the “Gluten Free” movement…not everyone knows what it actually means. There are plenty of misconceptions about Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivities. Living a gluten-free lifestyle might be a choice for some, but for those with Celiac Disease, it is a necessary step.

Below are several common questions about Celiac Disease and answers to them that are great for building awareness about this sometimes-confusing medical issue.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac Disease is a serious autoimmune condition that occurs in about 1 in 100 people worldwide. When a person diagnosed with Celiac eats gluten, a substance commonly found in grains, dough, and baked goods, their body starts an immune response. This, in turn, causes damage to the small fingerlike projections, called villi, inside the small intestine.

Villi are an essential part of normal digestion. So, when they are damaged, the intestine loses part of its ability to absorb key nutrients.

Although all autoimmune diseases aren’t hereditary, Celiac Disease is. Individuals who have a parent, child, or sibling with Celiac are at a much higher risk of also developing the condition. It can affect people of any age but most commonly develops in children after they start eating gluten-containing foods.

Why is Celiac Hard to Diagnose?

Unfortunately, Celiac Disease is very difficult to diagnose. Its symptoms often appear similar to things like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, an ulcer, or Crohn’s disease. People with Celiac often experience unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation, bloating, cramping, joint or muscle pain, nausea, and skin problems like acne.

Conditions that often occur with Celiac include lactose intolerance, anemia, dizziness, depression, low vitamin D levels, headaches, and chronic fatigue.

In children, the most common symptoms are nausea and vomiting, chronic diarrhea, a swollen belly, gas, and pale, foul-smelling stools.

Unfortunately, it is easy to misdiagnose Celiac Disease for another condition. Once it is considered, Celiac is diagnosed with a blood test or a biopsy of the intestinal wall.

How is Celiac Disease Treated?

If it is left untreated, Celiac Disease can lead to serious negative health outcomes. It can result in things like iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis, infertility or miscarriage, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, intestinal cancers, and neurologic problems.

As of now, the only treatment for Celiac is adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. Individuals living with Celiac Disease must avoid things like wheat, rye, bread, and beer. Even ingesting a crumb of bread containing gluten can trigger an autoimmune reaction in those with serious cases.

Fortunately, businesses today are becoming more aware of these dietary restrictions. It’s possible to find delicious foods that are gluten-free.

How Can Velocity Urgent Care Help?

At Velocity Urgent Care, we care about your overall health and urge you to come in if you are experiencing symptoms. Our providers will assess your concerns and gather a thorough history. You’ll also receive a physical exam to help rule out other potential causes of your symptoms like a bacterial or viral infection.

If it is suspected that you might have Celiac, our team can refer you to an appropriate specialist without needing to follow-up with a primary care physician. As part of Sentara Healthcare and a member of the SQCN Network, Velocity Urgent Care can share patient medical records with more than 3,900 of the best physicians and advanced practice clinicians in Virginia.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking serious safety precautions to ensure that our locations are as clean as possible. We’ve put strict sterilization protocols into place and are carefully handling patients who may be contagious to ensure that each one of our clinics is safe for those who need urgent medical care or testing.

Don’t put your health at risk by waiting to seek out treatment!

Velocity Urgent Care offers convenient online check-in and registration that helps you limit your contact with others during a visit. We even offer text message updates so you can wait in your car (if you prefer) until it’s time for your appointment.

Velocity Urgent Care is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible. All of our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome.

To find out more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.