What Is Celiac Disease?


Quick Answer

Celiac disease is a medical condition in which the body is unable to properly digest foods containing gluten, as the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness explains. When individuals with celiac disease consume gluten-based foods, the proteins damage the small intestines. Left untreated, it can cause malnourishment and additional autoimmune diseases.

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What Is Celiac Disease?
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Full Answer

Symptoms of celiac disease in children include bloating, stomach pain, constipation and continual diarrhea, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. Children with celiac disease may also experience weight loss, tiredness and mood disturbances. Digestive symptoms are more likely to develop in infants and children. The symptoms of celiac disease in adults include tiredness, joint pain, oral canker sores, menstrual irregularities and an itching rash on the skin, commonly referred to as dermatitis herpetiformis.

While there is no cure for celiac disease, those who have it can often manage its symptoms with dietary changes, according to WebMD. While certain individuals can tolerate minuscule amounts of gluten, many sufferers must completely eliminate gluten from their diet for life. Avoiding foods that contain wheat, rye and barley may help to bring the disease into remission. Common gluten-containing foods include pasta, breads, crackers and cereal. Since celiac disease can lead to malabsorption, doctors may advise patients to take vitamin supplements to treat or prevent conditions such as iron-deficiency anemia and osteoporosis.

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