​Overview of the Celiac Disease Program 

The Celiac Disease Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Digestive Disease Institute specializes in diagnosis and treatment of patients with celiac disease, as well as dietary education and ongoing management of the condition.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system reacts to gluten, a protein found in grains including wheat, barley, rye and oats. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system reacts by producing antibodies which attack the lining of their intestine causing inflammation.

This damage to the intestines means that essential nutrients found in food cannot be absorbed by the body, resulting in the person being malnourished, no matter how much he or she eats.​

What We Treat

Our Celiac Disease Program can help people experiencing the wide range of symptoms associated with celiac disease which can include:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Stomach pain 
  • Bloating
  • Iron deficiency (anemia)
  • Mineral and vitamin deficiencies, including vitamin D and B12 
  • Fatigue
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Weight loss
  • Itchy skin rash 

Less common symptoms of celiac disease can include osteoporosis, infertility, seizures, and growth problems in children.

Diagnosis & Treatment 

Diagnosis of Celiac Disease 

If celiac disease is suspected, there are a number of assessments that can be carried out to confirm diagnosis:

  1. Physical examination and discussion of your symptoms and your medical history.
  2. Blood tests to measure antibody levels, and to check for nutritional deficiencies such as low iron levels. A stool sample may also be tested as celiac disease prevents the body from absorbing fat from food.
  3. An endoscopy may be performed to check for any damage to the lining of the small intestine.
  4. Your doctor may also advise screening of family members, as celiac disease typically runs in families.

Treatment of Celiac Disease

A fully gluten-free diet is the only way to treat celiac disease. By cutting out gluten completely, many of the symptoms can improve within days, nutrient absorption improves over time, and in most cases, any intestinal damage heals within 6 months. For people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease, this means a gluten-free diet for the rest of their lives.

Your doctor will also take some preventive measures for your future health including blood tests, vaccination, and screening tests. 

Celiac Disease Program Caregivers 

The Celiac Disease Program involves a multidisciplinary team of caregivers working together to provide thorough and compassionate treatment and support to our patients with celiac disease.

Caregivers involved in patient care for this program include:​

  • Gastroenterologists
  • Dieticians

It is important that patients with celiac disease are treated in a specialized center to improve their condition and prevent potential complications, as well as to receive practical support in managing the life-changing dietary changes required.


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