Celiac disease is an autoimmune inflammatory condition of the small intestine that occurs after ingestion of gluten (a dietary protein found in wheat, rye and barley) in certain genetically susceptible individuals. Celiac disease affects one in 133 people in the United States.
Symptoms of celiac disease in children may include abdominal discomfort and distention, diarrhea, poor growth, and irritability. However, celiac disease can also be associated with problems outside of the gastrointestinal tract, such as anemia, short stature and delayed puberty. The only known effective treatment for celiac disease is strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. It is crucial to diagnose celiac disease as early as possible and begin the gluten-free diet to prevent complications of untreated celiac disease from occurring, such as infertility, osteoporosis and cancer.
The Celiac Disease Clinic at Rady Children’s, directed by Dr. Kimberly Newton, is dedicated to the diagnosis and evaluation of celiac disease in children. Once diagnosed, children are followed in the Celiac Disease Clinic to ensure adaptation and adherence to the gluten-free diet and to monitor growth and other nutritional parameters over time. Children and their families are also referred to dedicated celiac disease nutritionist for essential nutritional counseling and medical nutrition therapy services.
Dr. Newton is affiliated with the Wm. K. Warren Medical Research Center for Celiac Disease. The mission of the Center is to
1) advance the knowledge of celiac disease pathogenesis and to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic advances,
2) increase the medical and local community’s knowledge about celiac disease, and
3) provide expert clinical care services to optimize health and quality of life in patients with celiac disease.