Children Living with Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a gastrointestinal absorption disorder that occurs when an individual’s immune system refuses to digest the protein gluten, or other proteins within gluten such as gliadin, found in grains including wheat, rye, barley, and to some degree, oats. When a patient with the disease eats food that contains gluten, the immune system’s response disturbs the intestinal lining. This causes symptoms of abdominal pain and bloating after consuming gluten. Celiac disease can be controlled through a rigid adherence to a gluten free diet. Celiac disease represents one of the most common genetic gastrointestinal disorders and is largely under diagnosed; many people continue to suffer without a correct diagnosis and an effective treatment plan (Celiac Disease, 2010). By correctly identifying those who have celiac disease, healthcare professionals can provide important patient education and effective therapy for the majority of those who are symptomatic to gluten products. With the power to eliminate gluten from their diet, most celiac patients can manage their disease (Amerine, E., 2006).
Manifestations and Incidence
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine in the gastrointestinal tract. Severe celiac disease leads to the distinguishing symptoms of pale, loose and greasy stool (steatorrhoea), weight loss or failure to gain weight (in young children). People with milder celiac disease may have symptoms that are much more subtle and occur in other organs rather than the bowel itself. Finally, it is possible to have celiac disease without any symptoms whatsoever (Celiac Disease 2008). This disease occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy to adults. According to Maher, PhD, it is estimated that up to 1% of individuals who are of European descent has intolerance to the grains wheat, barley, and rye, and as many as 3 million...