When a person with celiac disease consumes foods containing gluten (wheat, rye, barley, medicines, vitamins, adhesives etc) their immune response responds by damaging the tiny villi lining the small intestine. Avoiding gluten helps most individuals.
Optimal absorption of food requires healthy villi. Due to damage of the villi poor absorption of food leads to weight loss and malnutrition over time.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic, inflammatory condition affecting the entire gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. The cause, though unknown, is widely believed to be an autoimmune condition. A genetic predisposition exists and often affects individuals in their teenage years.
Abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss are the predominant symptoms. Skin, eye and joint inflammation are some of the non-intestinal affections. Bowel obstruction, fistulae, abscess and cancer are some of the complications.
Ulcerative colitis is a disease of unknown origin characterized by inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the colon (intestine) and rectum. A genetic predisposition exists and usually affects those between ages 15 & 30. Anemia, weight loss, diarrhea, bloody stools, joint pains, growth failure are some of the leading symptoms. The risk of colon cancer increases with an increase in the duration of the disease.