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Review Article

Coeliac disease in children: the need to improve awareness in resource-limited settings

Siba Prosad Paul,Lauren Katie Stanton,Helen Louise Adams,Dharamveer Basude.


Coeliac disease (CD) is an immune-mediated systemic disorder caused by the ingestion of gluten. In children, it may present with intestinal or extra-intestinal manifestations such as diarrhoea, weight loss, iron deficiency anaemia or faltering growth. Diagnosis is confirmed by small bowel biopsies showing histological changes consistent with enteropathy. In 2012, the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition revised the CD guidelines and suggested that, in a selective group of symptomatic children, CD can be diagnosed without the need for smallbowel biopsies. Management of CD is through strict adherence to a life-long gluten-free diet (GFD). CD is of great public health significance as its prevalence in developing countries has been found to be similar to that in developed countries. Early recognition and treatment improves prognosis. Patients and families require long term support to enable effective adherence to a GFD lifestyle. This alone can be challenging, but through support of health professionals and dietitians, can improve patient outcomes. In resource-limited settings medical professionals need to be creative in formulating cheaper and locally sourced gluten free options in close cooperation with the dietitians thereby ensuring availability of gluten free food items at affordable prices. In this paper, we gave an overview of the subject followed by authorsÂ’ view to emphasize the need for improved awareness in resource-limited settings.

Key words: Anti-tTG; Coeliac disease; Enteropathy; DQ2 and DQ8 haplotypes; Resource-limited countries.

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