This month’s “Ask the Expert” features Dascha Weir, MD, Associate Director, The Celiac Disease Program, Boston Children’s Hospital and Denis Chang, MD, MS, Attending Physician. Dr. Weir explains what happens in your body with celiac disease. Dr. Chang explains why follow-up care is so important after a celiac disease diagnosis.
Question - What happens in your body with celiac disease?
Dr. Weir - Eating gluten stimulates the immune system and causes damage to the small intestine. Inflammation and malnutrition can lead to sever limitation of bodily function. Left untreated, celiac disease can lead to long term complications. These include nutritional deficiencies, osteopenia, cancers and infertility
For more information about the biology of celiac disease see the “Biology Basics” section of this website.
Question - Why is follow-up care important for someone with celiac disease?
Dr. Chang - After a celiac disease diagnosis it’s important to maintain a connection with a gastroenterologist who specializes in celiac disease. Here are 5 reasons why I do annual follow-up visits with my patients.
- Review dietary adherence
- Monitor symptoms
- Assess new symptoms
- Track growth
- Check thyroid function
For more detailed information about follow-up care, see this article which you can also find on this website.