November 01, 2006
ABSTRACT: Only a small number of patients with celiac disease exhibit the textbook symptoms of malabsorptive diarrhea with steatorrhea, weight loss, and nutritional deficiencies. Others may present with a subclinical enteropathy, GI complaints without constitutional symptoms, persistent travelers' diarrhea, or extraintestinal manifestations alone. Be alert for suggestive signs, such as weight loss, skin lesions, oral aphthae, muscle atrophy, de-enamelization of the teeth, and vague GI symptoms, such as bloating. Helpful serologic tests include IgG and IgA antigliadin antibodies, enzyme tissue transglutaminase antibodies, antiendomysial antibodies, and total IgA. Typical endoscopic findings are mucosal atrophy, fissuring, and scalloping. In addition to a gluten-free diet, management encompasses repletion of vitamins and minerals, including iron, folate, calcium, and vitamin D; screening for thyroid disease and diabetes mellitus; bone densitometry and age-appropriate cancer screening; and pneumococcal vaccination.