Celiac disease or gluten-sensitive enteropathy is a digestive or autoimmune disorder. This condition causes damage to the inner walls of the small intestine when gluten foods are consumed. This damage to the intestine makes it difficult to absorb nutrients such as fat, calcium, iron and folate. Most commonly observed symptoms include abdominal bloating, pale stools, gas, diarrhoea, weight loss, iron deficiency, musculoskeletal problems among others. Children with this disorder may experience growth related issues too.
HOW IS CELIAC DISEASE DIAGNOSED?
Gastroenterologists first conduct a thorough physical examination, discuss medical history and evaluate the symptoms. He or she may order for a blood test for measuring the levels of certain antibodies. Other diagnostic tests include checking for nutritional deficiencies, iron level testing, stool tests, biopsy of the small intestine
HOW IS CELIAC DISEASE TREATED?
Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. People living gluten-free must avoid food with wheat, rye and barley, such as bread and beer. Ingesting small amounts of gluten, like crumbs from a cutting board or toaster, can trigger small intestine damage.
DID YOU KNOW?
Though rare, celiac disease can lead to cancer of the intestine. It may also cause osteoporosis as the essential nutrients calcium and vitamin D are not absorbed by the body. It may also cause miscarriage, infertility and birth defects.