CELIAC DISEASE(Gluten Enteropathy; Non-Tropical Sprue)
CELIAC DISEASE (Gluten Enteropathy; Non-Tropical Sprue)
DESCRIPTIONCeliac disease is an allergic condition in the small intestine, triggered by gluten, which prevents the intestine from absorbing nutrients. Most forms are inherited. Celiac disease is not contagious or cancerous. The digestive system is involved. Celiac disease usually begins during infancy or early childhood (2 weeks to 1 year). Symptoms appear when the child first begins eating food with gluten. Rarely, celiac disease may appear for the first time in adults.
Appropriate health care includes:
Home care and self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSWeight loss or slowed weight gain in an infant following the introduction of cereal to the diet.
Loose, pale, bulky, bad-smelling stools, or frequent gas.
Swollen abdomen or abdominal pain.
General undernourished appearance.
Anemia or vitamin deficiency, with fatigue, paleness, skin rash, or bone pain.
Mildly bowed legs.
Celiac disease is a congenital disorder caused by an intolerance for gluten, a protein present in most grains.
RISK FACTORSFamily history of celiac disease.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCECannot be prevented at present.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory studies of stool and blood.
X-rays of the digestive system.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSIn rare cases, gluten withdrawal does not bring immediate improvement.
With a strict, gluten-free diet, most children with celiac disease can expect a normal life. Improvement begins in 2 to 3 weeks.
HOME CARENo special instructions except those listed under other headings.
MEDICATIONIron and folic acid for anemia.
Calcium and multiple-vitamin supplements for deficiencies.
Oral cortisone drugs to reduce the body's inflammatory response during a severe attack.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
DIET & FLUIDS
Gluten-free diet. It is difficult to exclude gluten from the child's diet completely, so be patient while becoming familiar with the diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes, except during acute episodes when the disease is out of control.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of celiac disease.
Symptoms don't decrease within 3 weeks after beginning a gluten-free diet.
The child fails to regain lost weight or grow and develop as expected.