Celiac Sprue, also known as gluten sensitive enteropathy, is a condition that causes damage to the small intestine when foods containing gluten are eaten.
When people with Celiac Disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system acts inappropriately and forms antibodies to gluten that attack and damage the lining of the small intestine. This injury prevents proper absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. Malabsorption can result in weak bones, anemia and malnutrition.
Celiac Disease can be diagnosed by testing for abnormal antibodies in the blood or by biopsy of the small intestine using an endoscope (a small flexible tube passed through the mouth into the upper digestive tract).
The disease is treated by eliminating all foods containing gluten (wheat, rye, barley, and oats) from the diet.