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Celiac Disease Specialist

Digestive Disorders Associates and MDTEC

Gastroenterology & Hepatology located in Annapolis, MD, Gambrills, MD & Chester, MD

In the United States, it takes an average of four years to be properly diagnosed with celiac disease, a delay that sufferers can ill afford. To bypass a long line of misdiagnoses, seek the expert guidance of the gastroenterologists at Digestive Disorders Associates, who have extensive experience in diagnosing and managing the disease among their patients in Annapolis, Chester, and Gambrills/Waugh Chapel, Maryland. To get started, call or request an appointment using the online scheduling tool.

Celiac Disease Q & A

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects your small intestine. For those with the condition, eating any foods that contain gluten, such as wheat, rye, and barley, prompts an immune response that goes in and attacks the villi (small projections along your intestinal wall that are responsible for absorbing nutrients). When your body mistakenly attacks itself, it can cause long-term damage and, in the case of celiac disease, lead to serious problems because your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs.

If left untreated, celiac disease can lead to other autoimmune disorders and complications, such as:

  • Anemia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Infertility
  • Liver disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Colitis
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease

To avoid these complications, early diagnosis and intervention are key.


What causes celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder. While environmental factors and nutrition play large roles in the development of celiac disease, it only affects those who are genetically predisposed to the condition.


What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

Because celiac disease is governed by genetics, it develops in both children and adults, and the symptoms can be different depending upon your age. For kids, the most common signs of celiac disease are:

  • Swollen belly
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Developmental problems
  • Neurological issues, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

In adults, the symptoms can be a little trickier since the disease has advanced and it’s affecting other, unrelated, areas of your body. The most common signs of celiac disease in adults are:

  • Dermatitis herpetiformis, a rash on your skin
  • Anemia
  • Loss of bone density
  • Joint pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Mouth ulcers

The wide range of symptoms is responsible for the high number of misdiagnoses, which is where Digestive Disorders Associates can help.


How is celiac disease diagnosed and treated?

The first step in diagnosing celiac disease is to take a sample of your blood to look for antibodies. Your doctor may also perform a genetic test to see if you carry the right genes. If you fit the criteria, your doctor may go in endoscopically to take a look at the villi inside your small intestine to determine the extent of the damage.

If your doctor confirms that celiac disease is present, they get you started on a multipronged treatment plan, starting with eliminating gluten from your diet. This step is the most crucial for putting a stop to the progression of celiac disease, and nutritional options for those with the condition are increasingly available thanks to the gluten-free trend.

In addition to avoiding gluten, your doctor may put you on supplements to boost certain areas of your health and also address any ancillary problems that are caused by the condition.

To get a comprehensive evaluation for celiac disease, call Digestive Disorders Associates or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment.