Celiac disease is a disorder that causes severe symptoms when you eat gluten.
Stop eating gluten, and the short-term symptoms are reversed.
Celiac disease is hereditary. If you have the genes for it, inherited from either or both of your parents, then you have celiac for the rest of your life.
This sounds bad, but unlike many other hereditary diseases, it is relatively easy to manage: just stop eating gluten.
True, avoiding gluten is easier said than done. However, it is possible to avoid gluten and still eat well.
In fact, you will find that your diet is much better without gluten.
Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. There is debate about how harmful the gluten in oats actually is for celiac, but I recommend you avoid oats as well. Most celiac do not do well on oats.
Processed food uses a lot of highly-refined wheat flour, which quite frankly, is bad for everyone’s health.
By avoiding gluten, you will find yourself gravitating towards more healthy foods.
The challenge is less available convenience foods, but this is changing as more and more manufacturers supply gluten-free snacks and foods.
If you eat gluten, the first set of effects is in your small intestine.
The villi become damaged, leading to poor absorption of essential nutrients from your food, but at the same time, the body absorbs partially digested food, polluting the blood stream.
Poor absorption of nutrients leads to deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals. Anaemia is common amongst celiacs who continue to eat gluten-containing foods.
Eventually, extensive long-term damage can effect all the internal organs, and can be fatal.
There is also a higher incidence of bowel cancer among celiacs who fail to eliminate gluten from their diet.
See celiac symptoms for a list of symptoms associated with celiac disease.
Celiac Disease Management
News Flash! A new drug, larazotide, is being tested for its ability to control some of the damage caused by gluten. See Celiac Disease Cure? for details.