Introduction: Celiac Disease


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Celiac Disease: A genetic digestive intolerance to gluten in the diet caused by damage to the intestinal villi with an underlying autoimmune cause. Celiac is believed to be one of the most under-diagnosed and thus misdiagnosed conditions in America. Although the diagnosis rate is about 1 in 5000, the actual estimated prevalence may be as high as 1 in 250. Celiac disease is poorly understood by many American doctors, and may be misdiagnosed as various other digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Celiac Disease: Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine. Specifically, tiny fingerlike protrusions, called villi, on the lining of the small intestine are lost. Nutrients from food are absorbed into the bloodstream through these villi. Without villi, a person becomes malnourished--regardless of the quantity of food eaten.

Because the body's own immune system causes the damage, celiac disease is considered an autoimmune disorder. However, it is also classified as a disease of malabsorption because nutrients are not absorbed. Celiac disease is also known as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy. 1

Researching symptoms of Celiac Disease: Further information about the symptoms of Celiac Disease is available including a list of symptoms of Celiac Disease, other diseases that might have similar symptoms in differential diagnosis of Celiac Disease, or alternatively return to research other symptoms in the symptom center.

Misdiagnosis and Celiac Disease: Research more detailed information about misdiagnosis of Celiac Disease, failure to diagnose Celiac Disease, underlying causes of Celiac Disease (possibly misdiagnosed), or research misdiagnosis of other diseases

Treatments for Celiac Disease: Various information is available about treatments available for Celiac Disease, or research treatments for other diseases.

Causes of Celiac Disease: Research more detailed information about the causes of Celiac Disease, other possibly hidden causes of Celiac Disease, or other general information about Celiac Disease.

Statistics and Celiac Disease: Various sources and calculations are available in statistics about Celiac Disease, prevalence and incidence statistics for Celiac Disease, and you can also research other medical statistics in our statistics center.

         Contents for Celiac Disease:

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Celiac Disease: NIDDK

Last revision: April 9, 2003

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