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Celiac Disease: A Brief Overview

Grocery store shelves are now stocked with gluten-free options and restaurants are now serving up gluten-free dishes, but Celiac disease still remains a mystery to many. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that interferes with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. For those with Celiac disease, consuming gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, damages the small intestine.

Celiac disease is a hereditary condition, but an estimated 95 percent of the 3 million Americans living with this condition are unaware that they have it. Left untreated, Celiac disease is associated with an increased risk of small bowel cancer. Symptoms of Celiac disease can vary from person to person, and can occur in the digestive system or other parts of the body. Symptoms can include intermittent diarrhea, abdominal pain or bloating. Some symptoms may be less obvious and can include irritability or depression, anemia, joint pain, mouth sores, or dental and bone disorders.

If you have signs or symptoms that become worrisome, contact your physician. Diagnosis of celiac disease can be done through a blood test, however your physician may have to confirm the validity of the diagnosis by taking a biopsy of your small intestine.

There is no cure for Celiac disease; however it can be managed by eating a gluten-free diet. After being diagnosed with Celiac disease, meeting with a nutritionist to help develop a diet is often recommended.

For additional information about Celiac disease and testing, contact Lexington Clinic Gastroenterology at 859.258.4950 or visit us at