The Celiac disease or celiac disease is a food intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It is an autoimmune disorder, it means that our body generates an immune response to elements that are not dangerous, damaging itself. Thus, when a child with celiac disease consumes gluten, the immune system sends antibodies to the villi in the intestine, and attacks them, causing damage. These villi are folds in the intestine that facilitate the absorption of nutrients. Because of this damage, which can occur to a greater or lesser degree, the celiac child who consumes gluten may have a deficit in the absorption of nutrients from food, and cause malnutrition.
SYMPTOMS OF CELIAC DISEASE
Celiac disease or celiac disease can be accompanied by a number of symptoms, but not always. In each person, these symptoms vary, and can take years to appear
These symptoms are the first sign that a baby or child may be celiac:
– Frequent diarrhea
– Abdominal pain
– Stunted growth
– Excessive flatulence
– greasy stools
– Frequent constipation
– Defects in tooth enamel
– fragile fur
When the pediatrician may suspect that these symptoms are due to celiac disease, they will perform tests. It is a genetic disease, and sometimes, although children do not have these symptoms, if there are cases of celiac disease in the family, they usually do a blood test to detect it early. The two main tests for diagnostic tests are as follows.
The child is given a simple blood test and it measures the presence of, mainly, two types of antibodies: immunoglobin A (IgA) antibodies and immunoglobin G (IgG) type antibodies . These are the main ones that attack our intestine when gluten enters our body, so if its concentration in the blood is high, the test would be positive. It would indicate that there could be celiac disease.
IgA is the main antibody that the immune system sends to the gastrointestinal system, but our pediatrician may also ask for the IgG count because there are people with low IgA levels. There are other types of indicators that can be measured, but that is in specific cases that the pediatrician will determine.
To test for antibodies for celiac disease, a regular blood draw is done. If the test is positive, that is, a high level of any of these types of antibodies is detected in the blood, the test is assured with an intestinal biopsy.
To do this second test, a long tube called an endoscope is inserted through the mouth and through the stomach into the small intestine. There a small sample of tissue is extracted from the intestine, specifically from the part of it that bears the name of the duodenum , and is taken to a laboratory for analysis. It is a test in which the child, although scared, does not suffer because he is slightly sedated so as not to have discomfort.
With this test, what is tried is to see if the villi of the small intestine are damaged, and how much. Although the blood tests are positive, the biopsy is the diagnostic test that definitely indicates if this disease exists.
CHANGE IN DIET
If both results are positive and our son or daughter is celiac, the pediatrician will order us to make an important change in the diet to eliminate all gluten-containing foods. Thus, a few months later, tests will be carried out again to see if the level of antibodies has decreased and the symptoms, if any, have disappeared. It is very important, therefore, that if we suspect that a child is celiac or the pediatrician has told us about the possibility of testing, we do not eliminate gluten from their diet, because that would alter the results of the tests. tests.
In recent years, a great advance has been made by the University of Granada to detect celiac disease in children between 2 and 4 years of age. It consists of a simple prick on the finger , which quickly tells us if the child is celiac or not. All with a device that costs 10-12 euros, and can be used by anyone. We would only need our doctor to interpret the results.