What is celiac disease?
Celiac disease is a
problem some people have with foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a kind of
protein found in foods like bread, crackers, and pasta. With celiac disease,
immune system attacks the gluten and harms your
small intestine when you eat these kinds of foods. This makes it hard for your
body to absorb nutrients that keep you healthy.
Gluten comes from
grains like wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. It?s important to get treatment, because
celiac disease can lead to
iron deficiency anemia and
osteoporosis. It can also raise your risk of
Celiac disease can slow growth and weaken bones in
children. If it is not treated, your child can get very sick. Call a doctor if
your child is losing a lot of weight, has diarrhea, or feels weak and tired for
many days for no reason.
What causes celiac disease?
Doctors don't really
know what causes the disease. Having certain genes can increase your chance of
getting it. You are more likely to have these genes and get celiac disease if a
close family member has it.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of celiac disease
These symptoms can be very mild.
people vomit after they eat gluten. This is more likely to happen in children
than in adults.
How is celiac disease diagnosed?
Your doctor will
ask questions about your symptoms and do a physical exam. You may have blood
tests to see if you have certain
antibodies that could mean you have the disease. To
make sure you have celiac disease, you will probably have an
endoscopy. In this test, a doctor uses an endoscope-a
thin, lighted tube that bends-to look at the inside of your small intestine.
During the endoscopy, the doctor may take small samples of tissue to be tested
in a lab. This is called a
Often celiac disease is mistaken
for another problem such as
food intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome. You may be treated for one of these problems first.
After your celiac disease diagnosis, your doctor may do more tests, such as blood tests to check for anemia or a bone density exam. These will help your doctor
find out if you have other problems, such as osteoporosis, that can arise when
you have celiac disease.
How is it treated?
To get and stay well, you need
to avoid all foods that have gluten. Do not eat any foods made with wheat, rye, barley, or triticale. Don't drink any beer or ale.
You can still eat eggs,
meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables. Flours and starches made from rice, corn,
buckwheat, potatoes, and soybeans are also okay. Within 2 weeks after starting
a gluten-free eating plan, most people find that their symptoms have