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Celiac disease is a condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract. The disease occurs as a result of an abnormal immune reaction to gluten. Celiac disease, also known as sprue, mainly affects the small intestine. Some of the signs and symptoms of this disease include prolonged diarrhea, malabsorption, loss of appetite, distention of the abdomen, and failure to grow, especially in children. The onset of this disease is mostly between the ages of 6 months and 2 years. The severity of this disease varies in different people. Celiac disease can be present with mild, moderate or severe symptoms. Celiac disease occurs as a result of an abnormal immune reaction to gluten, which is mainly found in food materials such as wheat, barley and rye. It has also been noted that some people are genetically predisposed to celiac disease. The abnormal immune response occurs after an exposure to gluten, which would trigger the release of different autoantibodies, that can affect the organs of the body. Celiac disease may lead to the shortening of the villi, that lines the small intestine. This process is also referred to as villous atrophy. Villous atrophy affects the way nutrients are absorbed in the intestine, and may eventually lead to anemia. Celiac disease is diagnosed by intestinal biopsies, and blood antibody tests. The best form of treatment of celiac disease is by abstaining from food that contains gluten. Avoid foods that contain gluten would lead to the recovery of the intestinal mucosa. It’d also improve the symptoms if the patient has already started presenting. Exosomes are also potential ways of treating this disease.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Celiac Disease?

The signs and symptoms vary in adults and children. Some of the most prevalent signs and symptoms in adults include diarrhoea, weakness, and loss of weight. They may also present with symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, constipation and vomiting. Below are some of these symptoms;

  • Anaemia: This mostly occurs as a result of the malabsorption in the intestine. Iron is absorbed mainly in the upper part of the small intestine, which might have been affected by celiac disease, hence leading to iron deficiency anaemia.
  • Osteoporosis and osteomalacia: This occurs as a result of the loss of bone density, and softening of bone.
  • Mouth ulcer
  • Gastric acid reflux, and heartburn
  • Pain in the joints
  • Headaches and weakness
  • Numbness of the extremities
  • Damage to the teeth

The symptoms presented by children tend to differ from that of adults. Below are some of the signs and symptoms of celiac disease in children;

  • Lack or poor appetite.
  • Wasting of the muscles
  • Bloating of the belly
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Delay in growth
  • Patients might also present with neurological disorders such as attention deficit disorder, and seizures.
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis: This disease is also associated with celiac disease. It’s a skin disorder that affects the elbows, knees, buttocks and so on.


What Are The Causes Of Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease occurs as a result of some factors. These include food containing-gluten and environmental factors. This disease is sometimes induced after surgery, pregnancy, stress or a viral infection.

What Are The Complications Of Celiac Disease?

A celiac disease when not treated well can lead to a number of complications. Some of these complications include the following;

  • Loss of bone density: Celiac disease affects the digestive tract, especially the intestine. This leads to the malabsorption of nutrients that are important for the development of strong bones, and increased bone density. Patients usually have a problem absorbing and digesting vitamin D and calcium-containing This eventually leads to bone disorders such as osteomalacia and osteoporosis.
  • Malnutrition: Patients affected by this disease usually have damaged intestinal villi. This significantly impairs the absorption of food into the bloodstream. As earlier mentioned, the celiac disease leads to the inflammation of the small intestine, and lead to a condition known as villous atrophy. This reduces growth, especially in children. In addition, patients might present with blood disorder such as anaemia, which is due to the malabsorption of iron in the small intestine.
  • Cancer: Celiac disease when not treated, and allowed to persist for a long time could lead to the development of In addition, people affected by this disease increases their risk of having cancer when they consume gluten-containing food.
  • Neuropathies: Patients with this disease tend to develop some neurological disorders. Some of these disorders include tingling sensations in the extremities, numbness in the hands, feet and legs. Patients might also experience
  • Infertility: The poor absorption of vitamin D and calcium also impair fertility, and could lead to the development of miscarriage.
  • Lactose intolerance: The destruction of the small intestinal villi may cause the patient to have pain in the abdomen, diarrhoea, especially after consuming food that contains a rich amount of lactose. However, the symptoms improve, once the patient abstains from eating gluten-containing food.

What Are the Risk Factors Of Celiac Disease?

There are some factors that increase the risk of developing celiac disease. Some of these factors include the following;

  • Addison’s disease: This is a disease of the adrenal gland. People affected with this disease have a high risk of developing celiac disease.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This is a disease that causes pain in the joints. It increases the chances of developing celiac disease.
  • Diabetes mellitus type 1: This is an autoimmune disease, that mostly occurs in teenagers. It increases the risk of developing celiac disease.
  • Down syndrome: People affected by Celiac disease, have a high risk of developing celiac disease.

How Is Celiac Disease Treated?

The most effective treatment is to maintain a gluten-free diet. However, if an individual affected by celiac disease consumes gluten food, the physician might recommend the following;

  • Vitamins and supplements: Vitamins and supplements are usually administered to the patient. However, if the patient’s intestinal mucosa have been damaged due to the disease, the doctor can inject the vitamin and supplements.
  • Corticosteroids: This can be given to regulate and reduce any inflammatory process that might be taking place


Genel, S. (2013). Clinical Presentation of Celiac Disease Masks Therapeutic Perspectives of Celiac Disease. Pharmaceutica Analytica Acta, 04(04).

Nejad, R. and Mohammad, M. (2016). Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity; Evidence and Differences. International Journal of Celiac Disease, 1(1), pp.6-7.

Nevoral, J. (2016). Celiac Disease in Children: What Has Changed?. International Journal of Celiac Disease, 2(1), pp.18-23.

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