What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is also commonly known as gluten intolerance or nontropical sprue. With celiac disease, the body’s immune system reacts inappropriately to gliadin, a gluten protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. This allergic reaction damages the villi, tiny projections in the mucus lining of the small intestine that facilitate nutrient absorption by increasing the absorptive area of the intestinal wall (approximately the surface area of a tennis court).
Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder thatis estimated to affect 1 in 133 Americans. Those with celiac disease who continue to eat foods that contain gluten increase their chances of gastrointestinal cancer by 40 to 100 times that of the normal population. Celiac disease is currently incurable, and the only treatment for celiac disease is strict adherence to a 100% gluten-free diet for life. This poses a challenge for celiac disease sufferers because many of today’s processed foods contain at least one or more grains that contain gluten.
Avoiding dietary gluten and taking vitamin and mineral supplements to offset nutritional deficiencies can eradicate all the complications of this disease. In small children, celiac disease can be fatal if not diagnosed promptly, primarily due to the severe malnutrition that results from the disease.
Refractory celiac disease is a rare derivation of celiac disease in which the symptoms of celiac disease and the loss of villi do not improve, despite many months of a strict gluten-free diet. Refractory celiac disease may also be categorized as a malignant cancer.
Additional Information about Celiac Disease
- Common symptoms of celiac disease
- Common causes of celiac disease
- Help me choose a natural and alternative treatment for celiac disease
- Dietary and lifestyle recommendations that may help in the treatment of celiac disease
- Conventional or prescription medications used in the treatment of celiac disease
- Additional Reading for celiac disease