What is Celiac Crisis?

In my work as a writer, researcher, and gluten-free advocate, I inform others about issues that celiac patients face. Celiac crisis, although rare, is a condition that people with celiac disease should know about. A team of researchers has come together and reviewed cases of celiac crisis in order to facilitate its diagnosis and treatment. It remains poorly understood, but a grasp of celiac crisis can be vital to the health of celiac patients and can even save lives.

Celiac crisis, according to Celiac.com, is the “acute onset or rapid progression of gastrointestinal symptoms, together with signs or symptoms of dehydration or malnutrition that may be attributed to celiac disease.” It necessitates hospitalization and usually short-term supplemental nutrition.

Celiac disease is itself an autoimmune reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Upon ingestion of gluten, the villi of the small intestine, which are the finger-like structures that absorb the nutrients of digested food, are attacked, resulting in malnutrition. Various symptoms, mental and physical, are associated with the disease, ranging from migraines, chronic diarrhea, chronic constipation, anemia, chronic fatigue.

A group of researchers reviewed cases of celiac crisis, in an effort to form a better understanding of the condition. This will in turn make diagnosis easier and help with treatment options. In their study, they looked over the cases to find common features among them and formulated solutions for treatment.

According to Celiac.com, the team of researchers, variously representing the Mayo Clinic as well as the Celiac Center of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School, was made up of Shailaja Jamma, Alberto Rubio-Tapia, Ciaran P.  Kelly, Joseph Murray, Robert Najarian, Sunil Sheth, Detlef Schuppan, Melinda Dennis, and Daniel A. Leffler.

Among all the cases, symptoms were found of “severe dehydration, renal dysfunction, and electrolyte disturbances,” according to Celiac.com. They all needed hospitalization and the administration of intravenous fluids; some needed corticosteroids, some parenteral nutrition. In all of the cases, it was found that a gluten-free diet had positive results.

Celiac crisis is found among adults, is a serious health condition, and has a high risk of death. Fortunately, its symptoms are clear, such as diarrhea for no apparent reason and malabsorption of food and nutrients. When such signs are presented, a test for celiac disease should be conducted by doctors. Treatment options include systemic steroids or oral budesonide. Additionally, short-term nutritional support should be provided until the time that the gluten-free diet has resulted in full alleviation of celiac symptoms of malabsorption.

Eleven cases had developed celiac crisis before celiac disease diagnosis. It is imperative that we increase celiac awareness, which will result in a higher incidence of correct celiac diagnoses. Currently, it’s estimated that three million people suffer from celiac disease in the U.S. Out of these, only 3% are correctly diagnosed at most. Those with celiac disease, understanding the cause of their symptoms, can take action by eliminating gluten from their diet and thus reducing their risk for celiac crisis.

Miranda Jade




Celiac.com: Celiac Crisis: A Rare but Serious Complication of Celiac Disease in Adults http://www.celiac.com/articles/22235/1/Celiac-Crisis-A-Rare-but-Serious-Complication-of-Celiac-Disease-in-Adults/Page1.html

Indian Pediatrics: Celiac Crisis http://indianpediatrics.net/nov2005/1169.pdf

Davidson: Celiac Disease http://www.bio.davidson.edu/courses/immunology/Students/spring2006/Mohr/celiac.html

From our home to yours, Tina Turbin
If you have any questions or suggestions just email me at info (at) GlutenFreeHelp.info.

About Us

I'm a cookbook-collecting, recipe-developing paleo junkie, and I live in the kitchen. I'm hooked on farmers' markets, traveling, eating healthy, and hiking until my legs scream at me. There's nothing better than hanging out with family and good friends. I have fun and sleeping is just plain boring. Read more About Tina Turbin.

One thought on “What is Celiac Crisis?

  1. In March of 2000 I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease after years of visiting doctors. My body was in crisis until I finally found a doctor who started me on the path back to health. It’s quite a long story and I feel for those who have not been properly diagnosed. I couldn’t leave the house without taking Immodium. It was embarrasing to say the least. My body was shutting down and I was skin and bones. My feet were so swollen, I had to lay down to try and ease the swelling before trying to put on my shoes. Today I feel so much better and am thankful each and every day for the proper diagnosis.

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