1. Gainer, Cheryl MSN, RN, CNM

Article Content

Celiac disease affects 1% or approximately 3 million individuals in the U.S.; however, only about 40,000 individuals are currently diagnosed with the disorder. According to the 2004 National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference, Celiac disease is a largely undiagnosed disorder leading to serious health consequences if untreated, especially gastrointestinal (GI) complications, including lymphoma of the intestines. Approximately 30% to 40% of the U.S. population carry genetic markers that predispose individuals to the development of Celiac Disease. Females are predominately affected. Correct diagnosis is often delayed up to 11 years from the onset of symptoms. Celiac disease is caused by dietary proteins (wheat, barley, and rye) known as glutens. Glutens activate an abnormal mucosal immune response causing tissue damage in the GI tract. The chronic inflammation and destruction of villi in the small intestine leads to malabsorption, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and additional complications. Treatment for celiac disease is a life long adherence to a gluten free diet. This presentation provides information that places the GI nurse in a unique position to decrease the delay between diagnosis and treatment, provide effective follow-up, and insure that screening for Celiac disease occurs for all patients presenting with GI symptoms.


Section Description

We are pleased to present the abstracts from SGNA's 34th Annual Course, Charting a Course for Professional Growth. The diversity of these topics certainly reflects the richness and breadth of our specialty. In keeping with the tradition of the Annual Course, we hope the following abstracts will encourage discussions for improving nursing practice and patient care outcomes.