Celiac Disease

Celiac disease results from an abnormal reaction to gluten, which is contained in wheat, barley, rye and possibly oats. The ingestion of gluten in patients with celiac disease may lead to damage of the small intestinal lining called villi, and malabsorption of nutrients. The cause of celiac disease is unknown, though genetic factors are important. It may be diagnosed in early childhood or later in life. Symptoms of celiac disease are variable and may include: no symptoms, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, nausea and vomiting.

The diagnosis of celiac disease is made on the basis of biopsies from the small intestine as well as blood testing for celiac disease related antibodies. Treatment is to consume a gluten-free diet. Vitamins and mineral supplements may be taken for nutritional deficiencies.

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