What is celiac disease?
The gluten-free diet fad has grown from more than weight management. And celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that comes from eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.
How Does One Get Celiac Disease?
Celiac is a genetic digestive disorder. It is estimated that the disease affects one in 100 people worldwide and that about 2.5 million Americans are undiagnosed and at risk for long-term health complications.
The disorder occurs in the small intestine. When those who suffer from celiac disease ingest gluten, their body launches an immune attack in the small intestine. This attack damages one’s villi, which are small, hair-like structures that line the small intestine.
Villi are responsible for nutrient absorption, particularly fat, calcium, iron and folate. When they are damaged, the villi can no longer absorb these nutrients properly, leaving the individual constantly malnourished, no matter what their diet is.
Because celiac disease is genetic, symptoms can occur at any age. Sometimes it might be best to go gluten-free!
Some Symptoms May Include:
A severe skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
Growth problems and failure to thrive (in children)
Tingling sensation in the legs
Missed menstrual periods
Some Long-Term Symptoms May Include:
Type I diabetes
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Infertility and miscarriage
If celiac disease runs in your family, or if you’re unsure if celiac disease affects you, contact a doctor.