Celiac disease is an inherited allergic condition localized to the small intestine. It is triggered by gluten (a protein found in most grains). The disorder prevents the intestine from absorbing nutrients. Celiac disease usually begins during infancy or early childhood and is not contagious or cancerous. Symptoms may develop when the child first begins eating food with gluten, but will progress gradually into adulthood.
Causes of Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a congenital disorder. It is caused by the lack of intolerance for gluten, a protein present in most grains. It leads to damage to intestinal villi. These same villi cannot produce adequate amounts of necessary digestive enzymes.
Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is one of the malabsorption disorders. They all produce symptoms from impaired intestinal absorption of nutrients. These symptoms include weight loss or very slow weight gain in an infant following the introduction of cereal. Poor appetite, loose, pale, bulky, bad-smelling stools and frequent gas occurs. Abdominal swelling and abdominal pain or discomfort may occur. Mouth ulcers may develop. Anemia, which can be due to vitamin deficiency, can produce symptoms of shortness of breath, pallor, rapid heart rate, exercise intolerance and generalized weakness. Sometimes, bowed legs can appear in children.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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