Celiac Disease Specialist

Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado

Masi Khaja, MD

Gastroenterologist located in Grand Junction, CO

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes people who have the condition severe digestive problems if they eat anything containing gluten. The expert team at Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado in Grand Junction, Colorado, has extensive experience in helping people affected by celiac disease and improving their quality of life, so if you’re experiencing symptoms, call the clinic today or book an appointment online.

Celiac Disease Q & A

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder, which means your immune system mistakenly attacks your body. In the case of celiac disease, the immune system responds to a protein called gluten that’s in most grains and flours and is a common ingredient in many foodstuffs.

If you have celiac disease, eating foods that contain gluten triggers an immune response that damages the tiny villi that line your small intestine. If the villi sustain damage, it affects your ability to be able to extract enough nutrients from your food, leading to:

  • Malnourishment
  • Loss of bone density
  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage

In some cases, it can cause neurological disease or certain forms of cancer.

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

Typical symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis (an itchy, blistery rash)
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Heartburn
  • Anemia

Many people who have celiac disease don’t experience any symptoms, or so few they don’t realize they have a problem. This can hamper diagnosis, and it could be years before the damage to the intestine causes significant symptoms.

Celiac disease is a genetic disorder, so you’re more likely to develop the condition if other members of your family have it. Consulting experts like the team at Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado is the best way to ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis of any gastroenterological symptoms.

How is celiac disease diagnosed?

The medical team at Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado uses blood tests to find out if you have celiac disease. A serology test identifies whether you have certain antibodies in your system that indicate celiac disease, and genetic tests can rule out celiac disease by identifying human leukocyte antigens.

If your blood tests indicate you have celiac disease, your medical team carries out an endoscopy, an outpatient procedure that enables them to view the inside of your intestine and take a biopsy to see if there’s any damage to the villi. Alternatively, they can view the intestine using video capsule endoscopy (VCE, or pill cam).

How is celiac disease treated?

Treatment for celiac disease is to follow a strict gluten-free diet. There aren’t any medications that can cure celiac disease, so avoiding the trigger factor is the only sure way to minimize the symptoms.

The team at Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado can help you lead a gluten-free life to keep your symptoms under control and avoid permanent damage to your intestines.

Call Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado today to schedule a celiac disease consultation, or book an appointment online.