Coeliac Disease

Coeliac Disease

Overview

Coeliac disease is a serious auto-immune condition, caused by a genetic predisposition, where the patient suffers damage to the small intestine while ingesting gluten. The immune response to gluten damages the villi (finger-like projections in the small intestine that aid nutrient absorption), causing villous atrophy.

Signs and symptoms

Coeliac disease has the following symptoms triggered by ingesting gluten – severe abdominal pain, anaemia, bloating, heartburn, constipation, diarrhoea, gas. It can also trigger a skin rash, headaches, mouth ulcers, tingling in the hands and feet and bone or joint pain.

Causes and risk factors

The symptoms of Coeliac disease are caused when the patient ingests gluten. The cause of the condition seems to have a strong genetic link. However, there also appears to be a link between gut bacteria and infant feeding practices. People with a family history of Coeliac disease, and people with pre-existing Type-1 Diabetes, Down Syndrome, Auto-immune Thyroid disease, Lymphocytic colitis and Addison’s disease are at a higher risk of developing Coeliac disease.

Complications

Coeliac disease can cause serious malnutrition and lactose intolerance, resulting in bone weakening, problems with the nervous system, infertility and increased risk of cancer.

Diagnosis

Coeliac disease is diagnosed using a combination of 2 blood tests – A Serology test to check for antibodies created in response to gluten, and a DNA test to check for Genetic Predisposition to Coeliac disease. If the blood tests indicate Coeliac disease, the doctor may follow up with an endoscopy or a capsule endoscopy to review the extent of damage to the villi. In addition, the doctor may recommend a skin biopsy to check for dermatitis herpetiformis.

Treatment and Surgical Interventions

The only way to manage Coeliac disease is a strict gluten-free diet. A licensed dietician can help create a gluten-free diet avoiding all the trace forms of gluten. Removal of gluten from the diet gradually reduce inflammation and then allow healing.

Prevention

Coeliac disease cannot be prevented, but a flare-up can be prevented by sticking to a gluten-free diet.

We are with you in your journey to better health

A consultation with our panel of doctors, specialists and surgeons will help you determine what kind of services you may need to help diagnose and treat your condition. If you or someone in your family or friend’s circle are facing any health issues, please get in touch with us, we are here for you.

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