Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive process of the small intestine in people who are genetically susceptible. When a person who has celiac disease consumes gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, the individual's immune system responds by attacking the small intestine and inhibiting the absorption of important nutrients into the body.
Undiagnosed and untreated, celiac disease can lead to the development of other autoimmune disorders, as well as osteoporosis, infertility, and neurological conditions and in extremely rare cases, cancer.
The only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. This requires eliminating wheat, rye, barley, and derivatives of these grains from the diet. Strict adherence to this diet will stop symptoms, heal existing intestinal damage, and prevent further damage.
At the Center for Celiac Research, both pediatric and adult patients with celiac disease receive the most sophisticated care available. A multidisciplinary team including gastroenterologist, dietitian and nurse practitioner knowledgeable about gluten-related disorders diagnose patients and offer the most appropriate treatment plan for the disease.
Once patients are diagnosed with celiac disease, they must learn how to eat safely and live well. The dietitians at the Center offer the nutritional expertise patients need to develop and implement a gluten-free diet.
Because people with celiac disease need to change their eating habits and adhere to a strict diet, this disease can impact the entire family. The Center’s dietitian also provides families with information on different support groups and other resources that help them to manage the disease.