What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which gluten can cause damage to the small intestine. Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, and rye. If someone with celiac disease eats gluten, their body will respond by attacking the small intestine. 

Symptoms of celiac disease present a little differently for children and adults. Children with celiac disease are most likely to present digestive symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and bloating. Adults with celiac disease are most likely to present symptoms like fatigue, unexplainable anemia, osteoporosis, arthritis, and seizures or migraines. 

This autoimmune disease can be hereditary. Celiac disease can develop more readily in people with Type 1 diabetes, Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, or autoimmune thyroid disease. 

People with celiac disease can treat the disease by sticking to a strict gluten-free diet, which means avoiding wheat, barley, rye, bulgur, durum, farina, semolina, and malt, among other glutinous things. Severity of the disease varies. Even small, crumb-like amounts of gluten can cause irritation for some people with celiac disease.

Undiagnosed or untreated celiac disease can lead to host of long-term health conditions. Lack of treatment can lead to other autoimmune disorders like Type 1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis. People with celiac disease are at higher risk for developing coronary artery disease and small bowel cancers. 

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