is a genetic, autoimmune digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. About one in 100 children has celiac disease, making it one of the most common
conditions in children.
People who have celiac disease are permanently intolerant to gluten, a protein
found in all forms of wheat, rye, and barley. When ingested by affected
individuals, an autoimmune reaction causes inflammation and damage to the
nutrient-absorbing villi in the small intestine. If left unchecked, damage can occur
in nearly every system in the body: skeletal, reproductive, neurological, and
dermatologic to name a few.
Although the common belief is that gluten is found only in foods, the protein is
actually used in many everyday products including medications, vitamins,
adhesives used for stamps and envelopes and cosmetic products such as lotion,
shampoo and lipstick.
A gluten-free diet is the only treatment for Celiac Disease.
If you are concerned that your child may have celiac disease, a diagnosis should always be confirmed with the help of an experienced physician. Children’s specialists have the expertise to make the diagnosis and help families manage the disease.
To diagnose celiac, physicians usually test blood to measure for higher than normal levels of certain autoantibodies in their blood. Fortunately, the disease is well managed with a change in diet. Because treatment for celiac is nutritional, the program emphasizes patient education, and we offer a range of patient and family-centered programs about living with and managing celiac disease.
Our team includes experts in gastroenterology
(digestive disorders), laboratory medicine
(testing and monitoring), and pathology
(disease treatment evaluation). Counseling support is available through the Division of Psychiatry
and the social work team
at Children’s National.
Children’s free online resources
also help make the change to a gluten-free diet a little easier:
Please explore the links below to learn more about Celiac Disease:
• What is Celiac Disease?
•What are the symptoms of Celiac Disease?
•How is Celiac Disease diagnosed?
•Who should be tested?
• Treatment: The gluten-free diet
• What foods should my child avoid?
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