Celiac Disease Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Celiac Disease Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Celiac disease is a disease of the digestive tract caused by an abnormal reaction of the immune system or immune system to gluten. Gluten itself is a protein found in foods that contain wheat, rye, and barley. Apart from food, gluten can also be found in some medicines, vitamins, and lipsticks.

There are several types of diseases associated with gluten. Gluten intolerance occurs when the body is unable to digest or break down gluten. Some people with gluten intolerance have a mild sensitivity to gluten, while others have the autoimmune disorder celiac disease.


Symptoms of celiac disease do not only occur in the digestive system. Several other parts of the body may also show symptoms. In children, celiac symptoms can include:

  • tired easily
  • easy to get angry
  • smaller than their peers
  • late puberty
  • weight loss
  • vomit
  • full stomach
  • abdominal pain
  • persistent diarrhea or constipation
  • pale, fatty, and foul-smelling stools

In adults, celiac symptoms can include:

  • iron deficiency anemia (ADB)
  • joint pain and stiffness
  • weak and brittle bones
  • weak
  • seizures
  • skin disorders such as dermatitis herpetiformis
  • tingling and numbness in hands and feet
  • discolored teeth or loss of enamel
  • sores in the mouth
  • irregular menstruation
  • infertility and miscarriage

Dermatitis herpetiformis occurs in about 25% of people with celiac disease. These sufferers usually do not experience symptoms of the digestive system. Sufferers usually experience a skin rash consisting of small bumps and itchy blisters. Generally, dermatitis herpetiformis appears on the elbows, buttocks and knees.


Celiac disease is caused by autoimmunity, which is the fault of the body’s own immune system. The immune response to gluten causes toxins to damage the intestinal villi, which absorb food nutrients. As a result, sufferers can experience malnutrition.

Celiac disease is also more likely to occur in people who have autoimmune or genetic diseases, such as:

  • have a family history
  • lupus
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • type 1 diabetes
  • thyroid disease
  • autoimmune liver disease
  • Addison’s disease
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Down’s syndrome
  • Turners syndrome
  • lactose intolerance
  • bowel cancer
  • lymphoma cancer


The doctor will determine the diagnosis of celiac disease from a detailed medical interview regarding the symptoms and physical examination. Investigations are also needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Blood tests usually show high anti-endomysium (EMA) and anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTGA) antibodies. The examination is carried out when the patient consumes gluten.

Other tests include examination of liver function, cholesterol, alkaline phosphate, and serum albumin. Skin biopsy examination may be needed in patients who also have dermatitis herpetiformis. If the diagnosis is still not confirmed, an endoscopic examination may be performed to take a bowel biopsy.


The only way to treat celiac disease is to avoid gluten altogether. After avoiding gluten, symptoms will improve immediately. Intestinal villi can begin to heal and absorb nutrients properly. In children, the villi heal within 3 to 6 months. In adults, the healing process usually takes longer, even up to years.

Some examples of foods that contain gluten include wheat, rye, and durum wheat. It is also found in barley, bulgur, potato starch, graham flour, and semolina.

Some foods may also contain gluten unless they are labeled gluten-free. For example breads, cakes and pies, candies, cereals, cookiesoats, and biscuits. Other examples are imitation seafood or meat, processed foods such as sausages, salad dressings, pasta, sauces such as soy sauce, and certain beverages such as beer.


There are no preventive measures against celiac disease that can be taken because it is caused by an abnormality of the immune system. Preventing symptoms from appearing can be done by avoiding foods that contain gluten.

Several types of food that are safe for consumption by people with celiac disease include vegetables such as corn, spinach, and potatoes. Several types of nuts such as soybeans can also be consumed. Other options are corn flour, corn tortillas, rice, quinoa, and fruit.

People with celiac disease can also eat fresh meat, and poultry such as chicken, fish, and dairy products. Beverages such as wineciderspirits, and distilled beverages are also quite safe for consumption by sufferers of this disease.

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