Celiac Disease Overview
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease that damages the villi(finger-like protrusions) of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. This simply put, means that the body is attacking itself!
The disease is triggered by consumption of a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye.
When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging or flattening the villi of the small intestine. When the villi become damaged, the body is unable to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, which can lead to malnourishment.
In some cases, celiac disease becomes active or is triggered by events such as surgery, infection or severe emotional stress. If left untreated, people with celiac disease can develop further complications such as other autoimmune diseases, ataxia, thyroid disease, or cancer.
The main symptoms of Celiac Disease are:
- abdominal stomach pain
- bloating and gas
- diarrhoea or constipation
- anaemia (lack of iron in the blood)
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- tingling and numbness in your hands and feet (neuropathy)
- vomiting (usually only affects children)
- muscle spasms
- joint pain
- Dental and bone disorders (such as osteoporosis)
- Skin rash