Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten causes damage to the small intestine. When someone with celiac disease ingests gluten, an immune reaction occurs that causes damage to the villi in the small intestine. The villi is what promotes nutrient absorption, so when the villi get damaged, nutrients can not be properly absorbed by the body.
If left untreated, Celiac Disease can lead to serious health conditions. These include other autoimmune conditions such as Type 1 Diabetes, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease and arthritis, dermatitis herpatiformis(an itchy skin rash), anemia, neurological conditions such as epilepsy and migraines, infertility, miscarriage, short stature, and intestinal cancers.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley that helps foods maintain their shape and acts as a glue to hold it together. It is commonly found in breads, baked goods, pasta, soups, cereal and processed foods. There are many more foods that contain gluten, often in unexpected ways.
Celiac Disease is difficult to diagnose because it affects people in many different ways. Some people do not have any symptoms at all, however below are the most common signs and symptoms.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD)
- Delayed Growth in Children
- Infertility or recurant miscarriage
- Joint Pain
- Poor weight gain/weightloss
*Failure to thrive during childhood is a common indicator of celiac disease
If you or someone you know think they might have Celiac Disease, request a Celiac Disease Blood Panel from your doctor.
Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity
Some people experience symptoms of Celiac Disease, yet do not test positive on a Celiac Disease test. However, removing gluten from their diet resolves symptoms, and they are classified as Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity.