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Med Pregl. 2002 Nov-Dec;55(11-12):532-4.

[Case report: celiac disease].

[Article in Croatian]

Author information

  • 1KBC Dr Dragisa Misović-Dedinje, 11000 Beograd, Heroja Milana Tepića 1.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Celiac disease (nontropical sprue, gluten-sensitive enteropathy, chronic intestinal malabsorption disorder) is caused by gluten intolerance. This hereditary disorder is caused by sensitivity to gliadin. Because the body's own immune system causes the damage, celiac disease is considered to be an autoimmune disorder. However, it is also classified as a disease of malabsorption because nutrients are not absorbed. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine. Specifically, tiny finger-like protrusions, called villi, on the lining of the small intestine are lost. The diagnosis is suspected on the basis of symptoms and signs, enhanced by laboratory and x-ray studies, and confirmed by biopsy revealing flat mucosa and subsequent clinical and histologic improvement on a gluten-free diet. Gluten must be excluded from diet. Supplementary vitamins, minerals and hematinics may be given depending on deficiency.

CASE REPORT:

This is a case report of a 23-year old female patient with a mineralization defect (osteomalacia) and secondary osteoporosis caused by long-time unrecognized celiac disease. The patient had many symptoms: short stature, steatorrhea, anemia, weight loss and chronic bone pain. Laboratory and x-ray studies and jejunal biopsy revealed a chronic intestinal malabsorption disorder caused by gluten intolerance. Gluten-free diet and supplementary vitamins, minerals and hematinics were included with apparent clinical remission.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION:

Some people with celiac disease may not have symptoms. The undamaged part of their small intestine is able to absorb enough nutrients to prevent symptoms. However, people without symptoms are still at risk for complications of celiac disease. Biopsy of the small intestine is the best way to diagnose celiac disease. Decreased bone density (osteoporosis and osteomalacia) is a serious problem for celiacs. If calcium is not absorbed, due to small intestinal damage caused by untreated celiac disease, bones are not as dense. The only treatment for celiac disease is gluten-free diet, that is, avoiding all foods that contain gluten. For most people, this diet stops symptoms, heals the existing intestinal damage, and prevents further damage.

PMID:
12712900
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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