- coeliac disease
- a condition in which the small intestine fails to digest and absorb food. Affecting 0.1-0.2% of the population (but much more common in SW Ireland), it is due to a permanent sensitivity of the intestinal lining to the protein gliadin, which is contained in gluten in the germ of wheat and rye and causes atrophy of the digestive and absorptive cells of the intestine. Symptoms include stunted growth, distended abdomen, and pale frothy foul-smelling stools; the disease can be diagnosed by biopsy of the jejunum and is treated successfully by a strict and lifelong gluten-free diet. Medical name: gluten enteropathy.
Medical dictionary. 2011.