CELIAC DISEASE: MYTHS AND FACTS
PRINCETON FAMILY CARE
What is Celiac disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten in one’s diet. It is estimated that one percent of the US population (about three million Americans) has celiac disease. In this condition, one’s small intestine loses the ability to absorb nutrients due to damage caused by dietary sources containing gluten.
What are the symptoms of Celiac disease?
Classic symptoms of Celiac disease include abdominal pain, distension, diarrhea and constipation. It affects both children and adults. However, older children and adults often experience different symptoms, including delayed puberty, behavioral problems, iron deficiency, osteopenia/osteoporosis, hepatitis, arthritis, infertility, migraines, seizures, and neuropathy.
Is there a genetic link for Celiac disease?
Celiac disease has been strongly associated to two genes, HLA-DQ-2 and HLA-DQ-8, which are associated with an estimated risk of 36 to 53 percent of developing this immune-mediated disease. Due to this genetic link, it is recommended that parents and siblings of individuals diagnosed with celiac disease be tested, regardless of whether patient has any current symptoms.
How do you diagnose Celiac disease?
The diagnosis of celiac disease starts with blood screening, including antiendomysial antibody (EMA) or anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) and the determination of total serum IgA level. The gold standard for diagnosing Celiac disease is an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) with multiple biopsies of the duodenum and jejunum.
What is the treatment of Celiac disease?
The treatment for celiac disease is a strict, zero-tolerance gluten free diet, which is the avoidance of wheat and wheat by-products. Referral to dietitian/nutritionist is the key to proper management of this condition.