Mohammed Wehbi, MD
Vincent W Yang, MD, PhD
Robin E Rutherford, MD
Simmy Bank, MD, MB, ChB
Mary L Windle, PharmD
BS Anand, MD
Celiac Sprue Overview
Celiac sprue, also known as celiac disease, gluten-sensitive enteropathy, and gluten-induced enteropathy, is a chronic disease of the digestive tract that interferes with the digestion and absorption of nutrients from food. People with celiac sprue cannot tolerate gluten, a protein commonly found in wheat, rye, barley, and to some degree, oats. When affected individuals ingest foods containing gluten, the lining (mucosa) of the intestine becomes damaged due to the body's immune reaction. Because the lining of the intestine contains essential enzymes for digestion and absorption, its destruction leads to malabsorption, a difficulty in absorption of food and essential nutrients. As result, celiac sprue is often considered a malabsorption disorder.
Persons with celiac sprue experience improvement in the condition when on a strict, gluten-free diet and relapse when dietary gluten is reintroduced. With treatment,celiac sprueis rarely fatal. However, untreated and unrecognized celiac disease may slightly increase the risk of developing intestinal lymphoma, a form of cancer.
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