What is it?

Celiac disease is a digestive disease characterized by an impaired immune reaction to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in different foods, including wheat, rye, barley, and more. Some patients may have "gluten sensitivity", which is a milder condition expressed by the inability to digest gluten, causing moderate gastrointestinal problems. Celiac disease is a more severe illness characterized by an immune reaction to gluten. In reaction to gluten, the immune system "attacks" the small intestines, causing persistent inflammation and damage. As a result, the intestines are unable to absorb nutrients from food, resulting in malnutrition. The constant inflammation leads to complications such as skin and joint problems and gastrointestinal cancer. The exact cause of celiac disease is unknown, but genetic and environmental factors are involved.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Coeliac Disease
- Gluten intolerance

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of celiac disease may include:
- Persistent diarrhea or constipation.
- Abdominal Pain and bloating,
- Fatty stools, with a particularly foul odor (called "steatorrhea").
- Iron-deficiency anemia.
- Chronic Fatigue.
- Irregular menstrual periods, recurrent miscarriages, and infertility.
- Mouth sores (ulcers).
- Joints stiffness and joints pain.
- Skin disorders.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by questioning and investigating the medical history and physical examination to provide additional information and exclude other diseases. Further tests include:
- Blood testing.
- Stool sampling test.
- Skin biopsy – a procedure in which a small portion of skin is removed and examined under a microscope.
- Endoscopy – a procedure that allows looking at the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine and taking a biopsy, using a special camera inserted through the mouth.
- CT or MRI scans.
If gluten is removed from the diet before the diagnosis process, it may interfere with the tests, giving false-negative results.

Treatment

Celiac disease can be resolved entirely by eliminating gluten from the diet. By doing so, the immune response ends, and the intestines heal. Symptoms usually improve within a week of gluten avoidance.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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