HEALTH CENTER

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Celiac Disease by Christy Hayes

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage of the small intestine. Celiac disease is a problem when one’s immune system has an abnormal reaction to gluten.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale.  Commonly, people with celiac disease experience vitamin deficiencies such as calcium, vitamin D, folate, B12, B6 and zinc, before adopting a gluten-free diet.

Cause

We do not know the exact cause of celiac disease, but having certain genes puts you at an increased risk.  If you have a first degree relative like your mother, father, brother or sister who has these genes, you are at greater risk.  Infections may trigger changes in your small intestine with a person who carries this gene.  Foods that contain gluten can trigger an abnormal response to your immune system.  Over time, this can cause absorption and digestive problems.

Symptoms

The symptoms of celiac can be very mild to severe and can impact everyday life.  Some of the symptoms of celiac include:

  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal Stools
  • Bloating and Gas
  • Vomiting
  • Weight Loss

 
Diagnosing

A physical exam, history and lab work is often conducted to detect celiac disease.  The diagnosis is then confirmed with a small intestine biopsy.  This is done during an endoscopy.

Treatment

The treatment for celiac disease is simply lifelong elimination to gluten.  For an individual to stick to a gluten-free diet, they must avoid foods containing wheat, rye, and barley.  For example, some things that contain gluten are breads and beers.  Ingesting even the smallest amounts such as crumbs from a cutting board or toaster could lead to damage to the small intestine. There are no medications or surgeries required.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.