Both men and women are at risk for celiac disease. People of any age or race can develop this genetic autoimmune condition. However, there are some factors that can increase your risk of developing celiac disease.
Having a Biological Relative with Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is genetically based, so it is more common in those with a family history of the condition. This means that if you have a blood relative with celiac disease, you are at an increased risk for developing it, too. This autoimmune condition occurs in up to 5-10% of family members of people diagnosed with celiac disease.
HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 Genes
About 95% of people with celiac disease have the HLA-DQ2 gene and most of the remaining 5% have the HLA-DQ8 gene. Genetic testing can determine if you have one or both of these genes.
It is important to note that having the gene means you are at-risk for developing celiac disease, it but does not mean that you definitely have the disease. A positive genetic test should be followed up with a celiac disease blood panel to determine if you have celiac disease. If your genetic test returns with a negative result, you can virtually rule out celiac disease.
Some Autoimmune Diseases
Having an autoimmune disease makes you more likely to develop other autoimmune diseases, like celiac disease. Thyroid disease and type 1 diabetes are examples of other autoimmune diseases.