What is Celiac Sprue?
Celiac Sprue (a.k.a. celiac disease, coeliac disease, or gluten intolerance) is an hereditary disorder characterized by a sensitivity to the toxic effects of gluten in the diet, leading to abnormal small-intestinal structure, malabsorption, and intolerance to gluten, a component of nutritionally important proteins found in common dietary food grains such as wheat, rye and barley. The disease commonly presents in early childhood with severe symptoms including chronic diarrhea, abdominal distension, and failure to thrive. The general condition of these children is severely impaired. In many patients, symptoms may not develop until later in life when the disease presents with fatigue, diarrhea, and weight loss due to malabsorption of nutrients and vitamins, anemia and neurological symptoms. This is a lifelong disease, and if untreated, patients have a substantially enhanced risk for the development of complications such as infertility, osteoporosis, intestinal cancer and lymphoma. There i