Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.

Quick Facts

Symptoms:

  • Some people have no symptoms
  • Gas
  • Recurring abdominal bloating and pain
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
  • Weight loss / weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained anemia
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Osteoporosis, osteopenia
  • Behavioral changes
  • Tingling numbness in the legs
  • Muscle cramps
  • Seizures
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Infertility, recurrent miscarriage
  • Pale sores inside the mouth
  • Tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
  • Itchy skin rash called dermatitis herperiformis

Common Causes:

Although the exact cause of Celiac disease is not known, having certain genes increases your risk. You are more likely to have these genes and may get Celiac disease if you have a first-degree relative (mother, father, brother, sister, son, or daughter) with the condition. Environmental factors, such as viral or bacterial infections, may trigger changes in the small intestine of a person with these genes. Then, eating foods that contain gluten can trigger an abnormal immune system response. Eventually, digestion and absorption problems may result.
 
Research continues on how genetic, environmental, and immune factors interact and affect a person's symptoms, at what age they begin, and whether long-term health problems develop.

Diagnosis: 

Recognizing celiac disease can be difficult because some of its symptoms are similar to those of other diseases.
  • Medical history review and review of symptoms
  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests/screening
  • Bowel biopsy, as recommended

Common Treatments:

  • Following a gluten-free diet is the only treatment for Celiac disease 

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