Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes an abnormal reaction if you eat gluten – a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and many other products, including medication, vitamins and cosmetics.
Celiac disease affects the lining of your small intestine and interferes with your body’s ability to absorb many nutrients, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and fats that are vital to your good health. It is a genetic condition with a small risk of affecting family members.
Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook
The symptoms of celiac disease are different from person to person. Most patients do not show any signs and discover they have the condition through testing. Others have a variety of symptoms, including:
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Skin rash
- Vitamin deficiency
- Poor growth in adolescents
Diagnosis of celiac disease begins with a thorough physical examination and review of your medical history. At Penn State Health, your evaluation includes an assessment of your bone health and whether you have any micronutrient or vitamin deficiencies. This is done by our specialized physicians and nutritionist.
Other testing may include:
- Blood tests
- Intestinal biopsy through endoscopy
- Specialized imaging to assess bone health
If left untreated, celiac disease can lead to osteoporosis, liver abnormalities, as well as being associated with depression, foggy thinking and thyroid disease. Eliminating all gluten and following the treatment plan developed by your doctor and the nutritionist results in intestinal healing and improves overall health.
Experts in Care
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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care
Penn State Celiac Clinic
Penn State Health features the only comprehensive celiac center in central Pennsylvania. We offer coordinated care from a multidisciplinary team of experts, all available in one convenient location.
Our team offers expert care and guidance to help you manage your condition, including:
- Gastroenterologists for diagnosis and continuing care
- Registered dietitians to assist with your new gluten-free eating plan
- Celiac community organization for additional support
Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other patients and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.
Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.Find a location near you