What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is a serious, genetic autoimmune disorder triggered by consuming a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. When a person with celiac eats gluten, the protein interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food by damaging a part of the small intestine called villi. Damaged villi make it nearly impossible for the body to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, leading to malnourishment and a host of other problems including some cancers, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, infertility and the onset of other autoimmune diseases.
Celiac disease is:
- A serious autoimmune disease
- Triggered by consuming 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 the finger-like villi of the small intestine. Left untreated, people with celiac disease are at-risk for serious health consequences.
- An estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease.
- It is estimated that 83% of Americans who have celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.