Celiac disease is:
When a person with celiac disease eats the protein gluten, the immune system sees gluten as a threat and begins to attack it. The villi of the intestines, which are trying to digest the gluten along with other food, get damaged in the process. Damaged villi make it nearly impossible for the body to absorb nutrients, leading to malnourishment. If someone with celiac disease continues to eat gluten they can experience a host of other problems including osteoporosis, infertility, and the onset of other autoimmune diseases, like diabetes type 1, thyroid disease, and Sjögren’s.
Left untreated, people with celiac disease are at-risk for serious health consequences. There is currently no cure for celiac disease and the only treatment is a strict gluten-free diet.
Symptoms of celiac disease include:
With a wide variety of symptoms associated with celiac disease, gaining an accurate diagnosis can be difficult. To determine if a patient has celiac disease, a physician can screen by using a simple antibody blood test, sometimes combined with a genetic test. If a celiac diagnosis is still suspected, the doctor will likely perform a small intestinal biopsy for confirmation.
Our Getting Started Guide contains essential information for both newly diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity and those looking to better manage their gluten-free diet.
Currently, the only celiac disease treatment is a strict, lifelong gluten-free diet. A gluten-free diet means avoiding all foods that contain wheat, rye, and barley in all forms.
There are currently no medical or surgical treatments that can cure this autoimmune disease. Researchers are working hard to find alternative therapies and possibly a cure.
Beyond Celiac unites with patients and partners to drive diagnosis, advance research and accelerate the discovery of new treatments and a cure.