When someone with Celiac Disease ingests gluten, it triggers an inflammatory response that results in damage to the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients we all need. Decreased absorption can lead to many other illnesses.
Recent estimates suggest 1 in 133 people have the disease, it can be as high as 1 in 85. If a person has a parent or sibling with Celiac Disease the rate can be as high as 1 in 22. Celiac Disease is under-diagnosed because the symptoms can resemble many other diseases.
Symptoms (may include):
intestinal gas, bloating cramping
diarrhea and /or constipation
weight loss w/appetite, or weight gain
unexplained anemia, fatigue, lack of energy, unable to concentrate
Many Celiacs are lactose intolerant and suffer from other food sensitivities as well. Some individuals with Celiac Disease don't have any symptoms at all.
Celiac Disease left untreated can lead to other diseases some life-threatening. Celiac. com is a great source of information and has a list of diseases and disorders associated with Celiac Disease. (such as: Crohns Disease, Colitis, Intestinal Lymphoma, bowel cancer, Type 1 Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, IBS, Multiple Sclerosis, Thyroid Disease). Approximately 10% of Type 1 Diabetics have Celiac Disease.
If you suspect you have Celiac Disease or are gluten intolerant see your doctor or a Gastroenterologist about getting your blood tested. Do NOT start on the diet before getting tested. Your doctor might also want to take a biopsy of your small intestine.
There is no cure for Celiac Disease. You will need to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. Once you have started the diet you will notice improvement in as little as a few weeks. It could take anywhere from several months up to three years for complete healing of the small intestine.
Again, see your doctor if you suspect you have Celiac Disease. I am not a doctor and this site should not be used for medical diagnosis. This information has been gathered by many sources. Information at mayoclinic.com is very detailed yet easy to understand.
Celiac Disease is not the only health disorder related to gluten sensitivity, it is just the most well known. Many people are gluten intolerant. There are a variety of websites with information on Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. Many sites not only give a full description and treatments but also the latest news and up-to-date statistics. (Resources)