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Celiac disease, also known as coeliac disease, gluten-sensitive enteropathy, non-topical sprue, celiac sprue, and gluten intolerant enteropathy, is a chronic digestive disorder found in individuals who experience a toxic immune response when they ingest gluten.
Dermatitis herpetiformis (characterized by blistering, itchy rashes on the back, legs, buttocks and arms) is a related skin condition experienced by some people with celiac disease. There is no cure for celiac disease. The only known treatment is a lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet.
Ingesting gluten affects the function of the small intestine by damaging and/or destroying the absorptive villi. The body then becomes unable to properly absorb nutrients, resulting in potentially life-threatening nutritional deficiencies and other related health problems.
“Gluten” is the general term for a mixture of many protein fragments (called peptide chains or polypeptides) found in wheat, barley, rye and, to a lesser extend, oats.
It is thought to be the peptide chain that instigates the toxic immune response and subsequent intestinal damage in celiac. Minute amounts of any of these protein fragments can cause intestinal damage in people with celiac disease.
Definitive diagnosis of celiac disease is complicated by the similarity of many of the symptoms by other conditions. Intestinal biopsy is considered the most reliable diagnostic tool. A biopsy before and after the adoption of a strict gluten-free diet allows the physician to observe the pre- and post-exposure status of the intestinal villi. The complete diagnosis may take quite a long time because healing of the villi may take months or years on a gluten-free diet.
If many of the symptoms match your health problems