Children’s Celiac disease

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What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a condition that occurs when the body cannot digest gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in foods that contain wheat, rye and barley. Doctors have not been able to identify the exact cause of celiac disease, but they have found that certain risk factors make a child more susceptible to developing this condition. Celiac disease is more common in children who have type 1 diabetes, down syndrome or an autoimmune thyroid disease.

What are some of the symptoms of celiac disease?

Diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating are some of the most common symptoms of celiac disease. However, it is important to note that some children may display non-traditional symptoms, such as depression, mouth sores and skin rash. Celiac disease makes it more difficult for the body to absorb nutrients. As a result, a child with this condition may lose weight rapidly and suffer from stunted growth.

How can celiac disease be treated?

Currently, there is no cure for celiac disease. One of the best things that parents and caregivers can do is make sure that the child does not consume foods that contain wheat, barley or rye. Bread, cake, corn dogs, ice cream, fried foods, tortillas, oatmeal, chicken nuggets, graham crackers, doughnuts and hush puppies are just a few of the many foods that contain gluten. It is also important to look for products that are labeled gluten-free. Following a gluten -free diet can be quite challenging. That is why a doctor may refer the child to a dietician.

Because children with celiac disease are at an increased for becoming malnourished, a doctor may also recommend taking a supplement. Calcium, vitamin K, vitamin B-12, iron and folate can prevent malnutrition.

Additionally, celiac disease can cause severe inflammation around the small intestines. If that occurs, a physician will recommend that a child be given steroids to control the inflammation. Steroids come with a number of side effects are only approved for temporary use.