Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD
Celiac disease is also known as nontropical
sprue and gluten enteropathy. It is an allergic condition of the small intestine
that causes malabsorption. An allergic reaction to gluten causes this condition.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, oats, and barley. This allergic
condition causes the small intestine lining to lose its ability to absorb
nutrients. It also causes the digestive enzymes normally made by the small
intestine to be no longer produced. Celiac disease affects about 50–75 in
100,000 individuals. It is a congenital disorder. It occurs most commonly in two
age groups: children younger than 1 year and adults older than 60 years. It
usually appears in children once they start eating cereals. Examining the stool
for excessive amounts of fat helps in diagnosing this condition. A biopsy of the
small intestine done through an endoscope (a lighted flexible tube used to view
the stomach and small intestine) will confirm the diagnosis. The condition is
not curable but can be controlled with a gluten-free
Living With Your
Celiac disease usually
presents with foul-smelling diarrheal stools. Abdominal pain and bloating are
common. Weight loss or slowed weight gain, especially in child en, is observed.
Children can have a mild bowing of the legs associated with a complication of
this disease known as rickets. Adults will have bone pain and tenderness. This
is associated with diseases known as osteomalacia. Anemia can be present with
the symptoms of paleness and
treatment for celiac disease is elimination of gluten from the diet. Because of
the malabsorption, vitamin and mineral supplements are needed to correct any
• Strictly adhere to the
• See a dietician
to help with diet instruction.
Substitute with rice, corn, or soybean
• Take vitamin and mineral
supplements as prescribed.
• Avoid foods
When to Call Your
• If you or your child
have symptoms of celiac disease.
symptoms do not improve after 3 weeks of diet
• If fever
• If your child fails to
gain weight after starting the diet.