Celiac disease (Gluten Enteropathy or non Tropical Sprue) is caused by intolerance (allergy) to Gluten, a protein found in many wheat, barley and maize products. This allergic inflammatory reaction caused blunting of the finger like villi that absorb digested nutrients from the gut into the blood stream. This leads to a malabsorption disorder. The disease is genetic.
What are the symptoms of Celiac Disease?
The symptoms of Celiac disease are variable and can range from no symptoms to variety of symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating and weight loss. Some present with anemia alone.
How is Celiac Disease diagnosed?
Blood tests are generally a good way to screen for Celiac Disease but to establish the diagnosis with certainty, Upper Endoscopy with small bowel biopsy is required. In the biopsy specimen, the finger like absorptive villi are blunted.
How is Celiac Disease treated?
Treatment of Celiac Disease requires total elimination of Gluten that is found in wheat, barley and maize. This means that the diet is mainly made up of rice and corn products. Unfortunately, gluten is found in numerous food items as “fillers” and it is important the read the labels on various canned and boxed foods carefully.
Some patients may need a course of steroids.