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Celiac disease. CME update for family physicians.

Author(s): Devlin SM | Andrews CN | Beck PL

Journal: Canadian Family Physician
ISSN 0008-350X

Volume: 50;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 719;
Date: 2004;
Original page

OBJECTIVE: To review current understanding of the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management of celiac disease. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: Few recent randomized controlled trials (level I evidence) have studied treatments for celiac disease. There are recent comparative studies (level II evidence) and there is well established consensus (level III evidence) on diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease. MAIN MESSAGE: Celiac disease is an immune-mediated small bowel enteropathy caused by exposure to wheat gluten protein. The disease can be insidious and often presents with only subtle extraintestinal manifestations in a variety of organ systems. Recent epidemiologic surveys suggest celiac disease is much more common in North America than previously thought. Advances in immunology and screening have made diagnosis more reliable than in the past. Removing gluten from the diet is effective in most cases. CONCLUSION: Celiac disease manifests subtly and is an easy diagnosis to miss. Good laboratory screening tests and effective treatment are available. Family practitioners should consider celiac disease in patients who present with confounding symptoms.
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