Celiac Disease Testing

Celiac Disease Testing

Celiac disease, CD, also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy, or idiopathic sprue, is a hereditary response to gliadin. Gliadin is a protein fraction of the larger gluten fraction present in the wheat grain. Similar protein fractions are found in rye, barley & triticale.

The immune reaction to the gluten protein in the gut sets off an inflammatory state that may cause diarrhea, abdominal cramping, distension, flatulence, weight loss, fatigue and malaise.  Untreated CD may lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, osteoporosis, arthralgias, dermatitis herpetiformis, depression, irritability and impaired scholastic performance in children. There is a considerable morbidity associated with CD due to the chronic gastrointestinal complaints and resulting malabsorption. Long-term complications include increased risk of certain malignancies especially of the small bowel but may manifest elsewhere in the gastrointestinal tract.

Celiac disease is more common than originally thought possibly affecting as many as roughly 1% of the North American population; in children alone, between 2.5 and 15 years of age, the prevalence of CD in the general population is approximately 1:300 to 1:80 children. These numbers suggest that the disease is widely under diagnosed. In infants, adults or the elderly, recognition of the disease may occur at any age. Those at increased risk include first & second degree relatives of people with CD, those with a pre-existing autoimmune condition (i.e.: Type 1 diabetes mellitus, thyroid disease, Sjogren’s syndrome), underlying liver disease, and individuals with selective IgA deficiency, to name a few.

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