Celiac disease is the most common genetic immune disorder in the world. The disease affects both adults and children.
Celiac is an auto-immune disorder – which means the body, after consuming gluten, attacks itself. The attack takes place in the upper part of the small intestine.
In people with celiac, the protein gluten damages the small intestine making it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients.
Specifically, the villi in the small intestine are what get damaged. The villi get damaged by eating foods with gluten in them.
Fortunately, the villi recover their normal function after you go on a gluten free diet. Children typically recover more quickly than adults.
Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and oats.
Celiac patients who continue eating gluten are likely to suffer from a wide range of issues including malnutrition, osteoporosis, neurological problems, infertility, and sometimes cancer.
Again, these longer-term issues are preventable by eating gluten free and sticking with it for life.
Celiac is not the same as a food allergy nor is it the same as gluten intolerance.
Celiac disease is not something that is passed around like a cold. It is most likely to occur in people who have a certain genetic makeup.
Not everyone with the genetic makeup to have celiac disease ends up having it. And there are a few rare cases where people have been diagnosed with celiac even though they don’t have the genetic predisposition.
Present thinking is that some “trigger” sets off celiac disease which is why the disease can suddenly appear at just about any time in your life.
Unfortunately, celiac disease does not go away – you have it for life.
However, the primary symptoms from eating gluten – diarrhea, abdominal pain, skin rash, vomiting, bloating – sometimes disappear leading people to believe they are “cured”.
Thankfully, celiac disease is 100% treatable by eating a gluten-free diet. Today, eating gluten free is easier than it has ever been – not saying it’s easy – it’s just easier.
And isn’t it nice to know that simply changing your diet is the cure?
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