Home » What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is:

  • A serious autoimmune disease
  • Genetic
  • Triggered by consuming a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye

Celiac Disease Symptoms

Symptoms of celiac disease include:

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.

Celiac Disease Facts

  • Celiac disease affects 1 in 133 people.
  • 3 million Americans across all races, ages, genders and ethnicities suffer from celiac disease.
  • Celiac disease is hereditary, so all first and second-degree relatives should be tested.
  • It is believed that celiac disease first began in humans at the advent of the first agricultural revolution. (Read more about the history of celiac disease.)
  • 83% of people with celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
  • 6-10 years is the average time a person waits to be correctly diagnosed in the US.
  • We waste billions of critical healthcare dollars each year on unnecessary testing and treatment for those seeking a diagnosis.
  • Celiac disease can lead to a number of other conditions including infertility, neurological disorders and some cancers.
  • Celiac disease can also trigger the onset of other autoimmune diseases.
  • A strict, 100% gluten-free diet is currently the only way to control celiac disease. There is currently no pharmaceutical treatment.

Celiac Disease Testing & Diagnosis

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.

Newly Diagnosed?

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.

Celiac Disease Treatment

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.

Info & Help from Beyond Celiac

Beyond Celiac unites with patients and partners to drive diagnosis, advance research and accelerate the discovery of new treatments and a cure.


Think you may have celiac disease?

Symptoms Checklist