Celiac Disease Vocabulary List
There’s lots to learn about celiac disease and a gluten-free diet. Check out these definitions to help you learn more about managing the condition.
504 Plan: An outline created by parents and school staff to ensure kids with celiac disease get the same treatment as everybody else, in spite of having a special diet.
Advocate (noun): A person who publicly supports a cause. (verb) Publicly supporting a cause. By telling other kids about celiac disease, you can be an advocate (which means you’re advocating for celiac disease awareness)!
Antibody: Your body makes antibodies to fight something else in your body. There are lots of antibodies for lots of different things, like colds and flus and viruses. When you have celiac disease, your body releases an antibody in response to gluten. It’s one of the things the doctor measures when you get a blood test.
Autoimmune: When your body makes antibodies that attack your own body instead of attacking things like colds and viruses. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. Type 1 diabetes is another autoimmune disease (and some kids with celiac disease also have it).
Celiac disease: An autoimmune disease that affects 1 in 133 Americans. People who have celiac disease cannot eat gluten because it hurts their body.
Cross-contact: This happens when you are cooking gluten-free food but it accidentally gets gluten on it. This can happen if a gluten-free food touches something that has gluten in it, like a piece of bread. It can also happen when someone eats a food with gluten, like a sandwich, and then touches a gluten-free food.
Diagnosing: When the doctor tells you what illness you have.
Diet: The food you eat—that’s right, it doesn’t always have to do with losing weight!
Dietitian: A person who helps you eat the right foods for your body. They know all about food, vitamins and nutrients, and they can help you stick to your gluten-free diet.
Endoscopy: A test that uses a little camera to look at your insides. Doctors use this to see if your intestine is healthy, which helps them figure out if you have celiac disease.
Gastroenterologist: A doctor who works with the parts of the body that help break down food, including the stomach, intestines, liver and more. They can help diagnose and treat celiac disease.
Genes: These are like tiny pieces to a puzzle that make you unique. Genes come from your mom and dad, so your family shares some of the same genes. There are two genes that are related to celiac disease.
Genetic: Something that runs in your family (based on your genes). Celiac disease has a genetic basis, which means if your parents or grandparents have it, you might have it too.
GI: Short for gastrointestinal, which means anything that has to do with your stomach and intestine.
Gluten: A tiny protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It’s what makes people with celiac disease sick.
Gluten-free: A food, drink or substance that does not have gluten in it. People with celiac disease must eat only gluten-free food to stay healthy.
Hereditary: Something that is passed from parents to their kids. It’s similar to the word “genetic.”
Immune System: A part of your body that fights off infections and illnesses. If you have celiac disease, it means your immune system is a little confused and fights gluten instead of paying attention to other illnesses.
Intestine: A long, winding tube inside your belly that helps you absorb vitamins and nutrients from food. When you have celiac disease, gluten damages your intestine. That’s why it’s important to eat gluten-free—if you don’t, your intestines might not work.
Nutrients: The parts of food that are needed to help your body stay healthy. Protein, fiber and fat are some of the nutrients your body needs every day. Good nutrients come from eating things like fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, nuts and whole grains.
Nutritionist: A person who helps you decide what to eat so you will be healthy. A nutritionist will help you make sure the food you eat has the right vitamins and nutrients.
Pediatrician: A doctor for kids only.
Support Group: A meeting with people who share a similar experience – like being gluten-free! The meeting helps people meet other people like them. The meeting also teaches people how to stay healthy and about new foods, websites and events that can help.
Villi: These things look like tiny fingers and are found in your intestine. They help you absorb nutrients from your food. If you have celiac disease, gluten damages the villi and makes it hard for your body to get the vitamins and nutrients it needs.
Vitamins: Tiny particles in food that your body uses to grow and get stronger. Vitamin C is in things like oranges, and Vitamin D is in things like milk. You need lots of different vitamins to be a healthy kid.