Coeliac disease is a condition that affects the small bowel, caused by an abnormal immune response, or sensitivity, to a dietary protein known as gluten. When the lining of the small intestine is damaged, nutrients like calcium, iron, folic acid and fat-soluble vitamins are poorly absorbed. In some people these proteins cause damage to the tiny projections – or villi – that line the small intestine. Sugars, proteins and fats may be poorly absorbed too.Until recently, celiac disease was considered uncommon in the United States. However, recent studies suggest that the disease may be underdiagnosed and that as many as one in every 133 Americans could have the disease. In some cases, a diagnosis of celiac disease is missed because the symptoms are so varied and may only flare up occasionally. This renders them unable to absorb food properly, and can lead to diarrhoea and malnutrition. These proteins damage the small finger-like projections (villi) that line the small intestine and play a significant role in digestion. When damaged and inflamed, the villi are unable to absorb food properly, which often causes diarrhoea and malnutrition.
Causes of Coeliac Disease
The common Causes of Coeliac Disease :
The exact cause of coeliac disease is unknown.
Severe stress, physical injury, infection, pregnancy, childbirth or surgery may lead to symptoms developing.
Sensitivity to gluten is the cause of coeliac disease and this often runs in families, suggesting a genetic link.
Symptoms of Coeliac Disease
Some Symptoms of Coeliac Disease :
Failure to thrive in infants
Bone or joint pain
Recurring abdominal bloating and pain
Pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
Treatment of Coeliac Disease
A blood test can now help doctors to tell if somebody is likely to have the condition.
Treatment consists of restricting gluten in the diet.
The only effective treatment of Coeliac disease is strict lifelong complete avoidance of Gluten found in cereals such as Wheat, Rye and Barley (many tolerate Oats).
However, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to remove a small piece of tissue from the intestine for analysis in the laboratory.
You may also be advised to take some vitamin and calcium and iron supplements at least for the first six months following diagnosis. This is to replace any deficiencies, and to make sure you get enough of these whilst the gut lining is returning to normal.