Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease:  Celiac - pertaining to the abdomen.  The disease can have complications beyond the stomach and intestines, usually from malnutrition.  Celiac disease is also called celiac sprue, gluten sensitive enteropathy, and or nontopical sprue.  The small intestine is very sensitive to gluten, a protein found in food such as most grain cereals for instance, wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats, it is not found in corn and rice.  The gluten irritates the small intestine and leads to deterioration of the villi (which is essential for the absorption of food on the mucous lining

Celiac disease often appears in infancy and or early childhood, but can occur at any age.  Untreated celiac disease can result in miscarriage or failure to conceive in affected women, and in men it can cause impotence.  Patients who has had the disease for 20 years or more can develop cancer in the gastrointestinal tract.  Celiac disease can result in vitamin deficiencies and patients may develop anemia, muscle weakness, numbness and bone problems and may have bleeding tendencies.

Cause:  Has been link to be hereditary but the exact cause is unknown.  Studies shows a defect in the immune system that causes certain cells to attack the intestinal mucous membrane when gluten is added to the diet.  Researchers also suggests a deficiency of an enzyme that digest gluten.

Symptoms:

Abdominal swelling and pain

Flatulence and a feeling of being bloated

Diarrhea

Stools that is pale, foul smelling and may float in water, at times with yellow fat globules floating on the surface in the toilet water

Fatigue

Loss of appetite and weight loss

Delay in growth and muscle weakness in children

In infants - may have signs of extreme gastrointestinal distress usually a few weeks after starting on cereal

Treatment:

Dietary change (usually in most cases the patient responds well without the need for additional measures)

Your doctor may advise you to avoid fatty foods and dairy products, wheat, rye, and barley.

Call your doctor if abdominal pain and diarrhea continues after a few days after elimination's of gluten.

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