Celiac Disease in Children – Causes and Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Children

Celiac disease in Children is a condition in which the immune system behaves adversely to a protein called gluten. This protein is found in certain foods such as barley, rye, wheat and processed foods. This disease condition is also called as celiac sprue, non tropical sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy.

The disease is a genetic condition and is known to affect mostly the children whose parents are diabetic. It is characterized by loss of appetite, diarrhoea, weight loss, etc. The disease condition as such cannot be cured but the only way to prevent it is to avoid foods that contain gluten component.

Causes of Celiac Disease in Children

The main and only cause of celiac disease is exposure to a trigger called gluten. The child inherits the condition from any of the parent who carries the gene for the condition. Therefore, it is called a genetic disorder.

The risk of developing celiac disease in children is more if the child has any one of the following conditions:

  • Autoimmune thyroiditis
  • William’s syndrome
  • Turner syndrome
  • IgA deficiency
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Down syndrome

Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Children

Symptoms of celiac disease in children vary from mild to severe. The symptoms begin start after 3 to 5 months of consuming gluten containing foods. The common signs and symptoms in an infant child are:

  • Difficulty in gaining weight
  • Bloating
  • Poor appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rashes
  • Tooth problems
  • Anemia
  • Slow growth

The signs and symptoms in older children include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Gas problem
  • Oily stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bone thinning
  • Difficulty in gaining weight

Diagnosis of Celiac Disease in Children

The medical professional performs a number of tests to diagnose the disease in the child. The child undergoing diagnosis should continue to eat gluten containing foods. The test include:

  • Blood tests –

    This is the main test to diagnose celiac disease in the child. This test confirms whether the child has increased levels of antibodies known as tissue transglutaminases. These type of antibodies usually increase in number when a child is suffering from celiac disease.

  • Small intestine biopsy –

    In this test, a sample of small intestinal lining is examined under a microscope. Small intestine contain villi that absorb nutrients. But this villi become flattened in the children with celiac disease. The disease is thus diagnosed in the child.

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