Our Gastroenterologists are experts in the care and treatment of Celiac Disease. For the diagnosis of Celiac disease, they will take the extra time to carefully and thoroughly examine the patient’s complete medical history. To treat this disorder, they will discuss with each individual patient the treatment options and dietary adjustments that are right for that particular patient.
Celiac disease is oversensitivity to “gluten” in the small intestine. Gluten is a kind of protein that can be found in wheat, barley, rye and any food that contains these grains. Oversensitivity is the result of overreaction of a patient’s immune system to gluten (it is also called gluten sensitive enteropathy). This overreaction can damage the tissue of the small intestine. As a matter of fact, the small intestine is the main place to absorb essential and vital elements such as vitamin B12, iron, lipids and lipid soluble vitamins. Symptoms of Celiac disease can include anemia, diarrhea and malabsorption, loss of bone density, weight loss, bloating and gas, fatigue, and skin rash. In certain cases, children’s growth may be affected. Completely avoiding gluten containing foods is the best treatment!
Celiac disease occurs more in patients with European ancestry, Caucasians and type 1 Diabetic patients. It is not completely clear why Celiac disease develops, but it can be associated with the involvement of an immune system reaction. As with other autoimmune diseases, it is more common in women than men.
Diagnosis can be made with serologic tests (the measurement of antibodies). Remember it is an immune system reaction, so the body makes antibodies against gluten. The best diagnostic tool is a biopsy of the small intestine that can be studied under a microscope. Normal villi will look like fingers projecting, and in celiac disease the villi changes to flat look without the projection. Also, the tissue shows specific features that are characteristic with celiac disease. A biopsy is the most accurate way for the diagnosis of celiac disease.
It is very important for patients to follow their physician’s treatment strategy due to the nature of this disease. Celiac disease has the ability to reoccur, even though the patient is following a gluten free diet. If the patient sees an improvement of symptoms after following a gluten free diet for a while, but still a recurrence of the disease occurs, this is known as Refractory celiac disease. On the other hand if the patient does not see any improvement with a gluten free diet, this is known as a nonresponsive form of celiac disease.
Celiac disease may cause a skin rash that called dermatitis herpetiform. It is characterized by itching and fluid filled rash-like bumps. It usually occurs on the forearm, scalp, knee and buttock. The immune system is making antibodies to the disease; however, these antibodies sit in the skin as a foreign particle causing itching and a rash reaction. Usually there is no need for special treatment. It should go away with a gluten free diet.
Our center utilizes a multidisciplinary team approach to your healthcare, which means that patients benefit from the combined expertise of physicians who have the knowledge, perspective and experience to address all aspects of your complete gastroenterological care, including Celiac Disease.
We offer the most advanced diagnostic techniques and treatments for a wide variety of gastroenterological conditions. We also offer a full range of diagnostic procedures, as well as medical, surgical and minimally invasive treatment options to meet the individual needs of patients with gastroenterological conditions of any kind. Contact us if you are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that have not yet been addressed by our physicians.