Celiac Disease
Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease at AGMG

Learn about Celiac Disease treatment from the doctors of Associated Gastroenterology

Celiac disease is a disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage of the small intestine. Celiac disease is more common than people affecting 1 in 100 people worldwide. The doctors of AGMG are committed to providing complete medical care for patients with celiac including dietary management, co-existing disease screening and family screening recommendations.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is an auto-immune disorder caused by the ingestion of gluten. On ingestion of gluten, the body produces an immune response that results in destruction of the lining of the small intestine. This small intestine damage can result in symptoms such as pain, bloating and gas, nutritional deficiencies from malabsorption and even a small increase of certain cancers. Celiac disease is a hereditary genetic condition that can be seen in families.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat, barley, rye and oat. Gluten is responsible for the elastic texture found in dough. Gluten is found in obvious foods such as pasta, breads and pastries, cereals and beer but also less obvious foods such as soy sauce, candies, soups and meat substitutes.

What are symptoms of celiac disease?

Celiac disease can be difficult to diagnosis because it affects every patient differential. There are over 200 known symptoms of celiac disease.

Signs and symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Diarrhea or loose stool
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Liver test abnormalities
  • An itchy skin rash commonly on the back
  • Irregular menstrual periods or unexplained infertility

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Who should be screened for celiac disease?

  • Children or adults experiencing symptoms of celiac disease
  • First degree relatives of people with celiac disease
  • Any patient with an associated autoimmune disorder or condition such as type 1 diabetes, autoimmune liver or thyroid disease, down syndrome, turner syndrome and IgA deficiency

How do you screen for celiac disease?

Celiac disease can be diagnosed through blood tests and with a biopsy of the small intestine done at the time of upper endoscopy (EGD). Diagnosis is significantly more challenging with patients on a gluten free diet. The doctors at AGMG can speak with you about the appropriate steps.

How do you treat celiac disease?

Celiac is a chronic auto-immune condition from ingestion of gluten. The treatment is a life-long gluten free diet. By eliminating gluten, the small intestine destruction will resolve and the risk for complications of celiac disease including cancer are prevented. In addition to a gluten free diet, screening and treatment of vitamin deficiency and assessment of bone mineral density is essential. A consultation with a dietician is essential to help avoid unintended gluten intake.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is gluten sensitivity?

There are a spectrum of gluten related disorders. Broadly these include auto-immune conditions such a celiac disease, allergic conditions such as wheat allergy and not autoimmune/not allergic conditions such as gluten sensitivity. Therefore gluten sensitivity is when the intake of gluten products results in reproducible symptoms such as bloating, pain and diarrhea when celiac disease and allergy have been excluded. It is thought that maybe up to 10% of the population have gluten sensitivity.The treatment is similar to celiac disease with complete gluten avoidance.

Is celiac disease hereditary?

Yes celiac disease is genetic, this means it runs in families. First-degree family members (parents, siblings, children), who have the same genetic profile as the family member with celiac disease, have up to a 40% risk of developing celiac disease

Where can I go for more information about celiac disease?

The Celiac Disease Foundation is an amazing resource for all patients with or interesting in learning more about celiac disease. There is disease information, dietary help and local support groups. Learn more: celiac.org