There are a number of common gastrointestinal conditions, disorders and diseases that may cause problems. These include:
Coeliac disease (also known as "gluten enteropathy") is an autoimmune disorder of the small bowel that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from infancy onward. Symptoms include chronic diarrhoea, failure to thrive (in children), weight loss, a rash and fatigue. Coeliac disease is caused by a reaction to gliadin, a gluten protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Exposure to gliadin causes an inflammatory reaction leading to shortening of the small bowel villi (called villous atrophy). Management of patients with coeliac disease includes consultation with an experienced dietician, education about the disease, lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet (GFD) and identification and treatment of nutritional deficiencies (e.g. iron, vitamins B12 and D, folate).
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