Gluten Enteropathy (Celiac Disease)

Celiac disease
Celiac disease

Celiac disease, also known as gluten enteropathy or celiac sprue, is an immune-mediated disease of the small intestine that is triggered in genetically susceptible individuals by the ingestion of gluten—the major protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction produces inflammation that damages the small intestine’s lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients (malabsorption).

Globally, celiac disease is one of the most common autoimmune disorders.

The signs and symptoms of celiac disease can vary greatly.

Although the classic signs are diarrhea and weight loss, most people with celiac disease experience few or no digestive signs or symptoms.  It is estimated that 3 million people in the United States Have celiac disease. Most are currently undiagnosed.

In addition to digestive problems, other signs and symptoms of celiac disease can include:

  • Anemia, usually resulting from iron deficiency
  • Loss of bone density or softening of bone
  • Itchy skin rash
  • Damage to dental enamel (more prone to cavities)
  • Headaches and fatigue
  • Numbness and tingling in the feet and hands,
  • Problems with balance
  • Joint pain
  • Acid reflux and heartburn
  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage

Infants:

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Swollen belly
  • Pain
  • Failure to thrive or weight loss

Older children:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Short stature
  • Delayed puberty
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Learning disability
  • Headaches
  • Lack of muscle coordination

There is no cure for celiac disease. Affected persona must consume a diet that is free from Gluten.