is a genetic digestive disorder
associated with malabsorption caused by the body’s abnormal immune reaction to Gluten
, a protein found in food and cereals such as barley, rye and wheat.
The condition also known as Celiac Sprue, Nontropical Sprue, and Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy
affects the small intestine’s capacity to absorb nutrients from food. Those who suffer this disease cannot tolerate food and products containing gluten.
In people with Celiac disease, the autoimmune reaction triggered by the consumption of food containing Gluten, damages the Villi
, which are finger-like protrusions lining the small intestine that help in the absorption of nutrients from food. Therefore, victims of Celiac Disease remain malnourished
despite eating food.
What is Gluten
– This is a protein that helps in giving elasticity to baked food such as bread, pasta, noodles, pastries and cereals. It makes the food stretchy. Gluten protein is usually found in wheat, barley and rye.
Normally a protein like gluten should be broken down into amino acids and absorbed by the intestine. However in celiac disease the gluten is considered as foreign tissue and sets an immunological reaction that destroys its own cells such as the cells of the intestinal villi, which normally helps in absorption of food leading to malabsorption of food and leads to a variety of symptoms and ill effects.
If you or someone in your house is allergic to gluten always read the labels of the food you buy off the shelf.
Celiac Disease was first described by a Dutch pediatrician called Willem-Karel Dicke in 1940s. It is thought to be triggered by some environmental factors. Although at present there is no known cure for the condition but by following a strict gluten free diet one can lead a relatively trouble free life.
Food that contains Gluten are as follows –
- Some types of oats
It is estimated that 1 in 133 Americans have the disease and in the majority it remains undiagnosed. Of the approx. 3 million Americans who have the disease, it is estimated that only 100,00 are aware that they have the disease. Join a Celiac Disease Support Group -
People with this condition should join a support group and keep in touch with others via a newsletter and visit the forum discussion boards to be in touch the ‘latest’ research. Sometimes the discussion not only makes you understand the condition better but also accept it better.
Villi are tiny fingerlike stalks that line the small intestine. They absorb nutrients from digested food.
When your child has celiac disease, the villi become damaged and cannot absorb nutrients properly.