coeliac disease

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coeliac disease (celiac disease) Intolerance of the proteins of wheat, rye, and barley; specifically, the gliadin fraction of the protein gluten. The villi of the small intestine are severely affected and absorption of food is poor. Stools are bulky and fermenting from unabsorbed carbohydrate, and contain a large amount of unabsorbed fat (steatorrhoea). As a result of malabsorption, affected people are malnourished and children suffer from growth retardation. Treatment is by exclusion of wheat, rye, and barley proteins (the starches are tolerated); rice, oats, and maize are generally tolerated. Manufactured foods that are free from gluten, and hence suitable for consumption by people with coeliac disease are usually labelled as ‘gluten‐free’. Also known as gluten‐induced enteropathy, and sometimes as non‐tropical sprue.

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coeliac disease n. a condition in which the small intestine fails to digest and absorb food. It is due to a permanent sensitivity of the intestinal lining to the protein gliadin, which is contained in gluten in the germ of wheat and rye and causes atrophy of the digestive and absorptive cells of the intestine. Symptoms, which include stunted growth, distended abdomen, and pale frothy foul-smelling stools, abate with a gluten-free diet. Medical name: gluten enteropathy.
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