is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is an
autoimmune disease that is triggered when a
person eats gluten. An autoimmune disease
occurs when the body starts to attack
normal tissue, as if an infection were present.
Celiac disease has been known by many different
names, including gluten-sensitive enteropathy,
gliadin sensitive enteropathy, and celiac sprue
(to differentiate it from
disease, there is a permanent intolerance
gluten, the gliadin fraction of wheat
protein and related alcohol-soluble proteins
(called prolamines) found in rye and barley.
Celiac disease occurs in genetically susceptible
individuals who eat these proteins. This
condition self-perpetuates as long as these food
products are in the diet. This results in
the malabsorption of critical vitamins,
calories. Signs and symptoms of the disease
classically include diarrhea, short stature,
iron-deficiency anemia and lactose intolerance.
Patients may present with another autoimmune
disease (such as type I diabetes), or a family
history of the disease, with no gastrointestinal
Serum antibodies can be measured with a blood
test to screen for celiac disease.
However, the key to confirming the diagnosis
remains a small intestinal biopsy, combined with
the person's response to a gluten-free diet.
Physicians in the United States must maintain a
high index of suspicion for this disease, as
it is significantly under-diagnosed in this