Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in people worldwide.
Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications. When people with celiac disease eat gluten a protein found in wheat, rye and barley , their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption.
Celiac Disease Foundation
When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body. Celiac disease is hereditary, meaning that it runs in families. People with a first-degree relative with celiac disease parent, child, sibling have a 1 in 10 risk of developing celiac disease.
Celiac disease can develop at any age after people start eating foods or medicines that contain gluten. Left untreated, celiac disease can lead to additional serious health problems. People with celiac disease have a 2x greater risk of developing coronary artery disease, and a 4x greater risk of developing small bowel cancers. The treatment burden of celiac disease is comparable to end-stage renal disease, and the partner burden is comparable to caring for a patient with cancer.
Untreated celiac disease can lead to the development of other autoimmune disorders like Type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis MS , and many other conditions, including dermatitis herpetiformis an itchy skin rash , anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, neurological conditions like epilepsy and migraines, short stature, heart disease and intestinal cancers.
Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. Thank you to everyone who took part in the debate. It seems precious to take offence but I respect other opinions. I'd hate someone to criticise if I called them diabetic or anaemic if their condition was widely known - sometimes people can take offence too quickly especially when there is intent to offend.
Symptoms of coeliac disease
Life's too short - maybe I'm still adjusting to my diagnosis an answer at last!!! Depends who I am talking to if I am somewhere informal I will say I have coeliac, but in a restaurant etc I say I have Coeliac Disease they seem to take it more seriously. I prefer not to use the word disease. If I don't have gluten I am perfectly healthy!
Associated conditions and complications
After almost three decades of unwittingly eating the wrong food I finally feel well and full of energy. And I want to celebrate that! I tend to describe myself as coeliac. I don't think it defines me. I think it is empowering and separates me from those who choose to be gluten free as a lifestyle choice but can confuse the issue by giving mixed messages about what it is is ok for "gluten free" people to eat pinching their partners non-gluten free chips; ordering a beer with their meal etc.
I need to be sure that I don't consume food containing wheat, barley or rye. This isn't a lifestyle choice for me: gluten attacks my brain.
Why our July ‘Quick Survey’ focuses on Coeliac Disease testing | 2 July 2015
Even a tiny crumb is enough to make me ill for a whole year. Are you able to ensure that my meal doesn't contain wheat, barley or rye even in tiny amounts? Is the chef able to ensure that my food is prepared in a separate area so it can't get accidentally cross-contaminated by gluten?
It's as simple as that: my health is too important. It cramps my style to have to be this thorough and to have to walk away sometimes, but I am learning to own it and manage it thanks to excellent advice and information on this website and from the NHS. I am don't bother about what people call it.
If they don't I choose something from the menu I know is safe. I usually take my own gravy and ask if they could make it for me. Most people understand. Is this really such an important issue?
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I am a Coeliac like a diabetic. It does not define me in any way and helps others understand my problems quickly and easily. I also find that restaurants take my needs seriously, as opposed to just gluten intolerant. I have a health condition. I'm a Coeliac. I do not have any disease. I cannot eat Wheat, Barley, Rye or for that matter, unfortunately, Oats.
I cannot eat any food containing them no matter what form they take. I will never be able to eat any of them.