Celiac Disease, Gluten, and Diet - dummies

Celiac Disease, Gluten, and Diet

By Rusty Gregory, Alan Chasen

Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining in the small intestine when you eat gluten. Celiac disease can be life-threatening for those who suffer from it.

Here’s how it works: When you eat gluten (whether in wheat, barley, or rye), the immune system attacks the inner lining of your small intestine to prevent the gluten from being absorbed into the rest of your body and causing problems elsewhere.

Pretty cool, huh? Yes, but when your immune system attacks the lining of the small intestines, the lining can’t absorb anything else either, so malnutrition follows.

Symptoms of celiac disease can be hard to detect, but if you’re experiencing some of the following symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor:

  • Abdominal cramping and gas

  • Achy joints

  • Anemia

  • Depression

  • Diarrhea

  • Fatigue

  • Headaches

  • Skin rashes

  • Weight loss

If you suffer from celiac disease, the treatment is simple: Quit eating gluten. If you continue eating a gluten-rich diet, your body will be unable to absorb important vitamins and minerals. Continuing to eat gluten can lead to stunted growth, anemia, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, and cancer.

People diagnosed with celiac disease are better off than those people who suffer silently without symptoms. Celiac symptoms act as warning signals that something’s not right. Those with no symptoms have no way of recognizing that they need to make changes and may unknowingly continue eating the foods that harm them.