Celiac disease (CD) is triggered by eating types of protein fractions called gluten. Gluten is in wheat, barley, rye and possibly oats, though this is subject to debate.
Celiac disease is also known as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue and gluten-sensitive enteropathy.
An autoimmune response damages the small intestine. Villi, or tiny finger-like protrusions lining the small intestine, are damaged or destroyed.
The villi's primary role is to aid in the absorption of nutrients. Once they don't work, no matter how much or how well the individual eats, malnutrition can result.
About 1 percent of the population may have celiac disease. CD is thought to be underdiagnosed.
People can have CD and not know it. They may show no symptoms.
They may have classic symptomatic celiac involving diarrhea, failure to thrive, malnutrition and weight loss. They may have non-traditional CD, which involves depression and osteoporosis.
The potential for celiac disease is inherited, though it doesn't necessarily appear in childhood. An asymptomatic past doesn't eliminate the possibility of CD emerging later.
Blood tests and intestinal biopsy are useful in detecting CD.
Celiac disease can be activated by a stressor like childbirth, pregnancy, surgery or viral infection. Some symptoms of celiac disease are abdominal bloating and pain, chronic diarrhea, constipation, vomiting or weight loss.
In children, celiac disease can cause failure to thrive, delayed growth, delayed puberty and dental problems.
Adults with celiac disease may experience anxiety, arthritis, bone loss or osteoporosis, bone or joint pain, canker sores, depression and fatigue. They may have tingling or numbness in hands or feet, menstrual disorders, infertility or miscarriage, skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis, or seizures.
Autoimmune disorders like autoimmune liver disease, thyroid disease, Addison's disease and type-1 diabetes may indicate CD. Chronic celiac disease can cause liver disease and cancer of the intestine.