10 Basic Facts About Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a condition that damages the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. Celiac disease is triggered by the consumption of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Here are 10 basic facts about celiac disease that everyone should know:
1. Celiac disease is a genetic disorder: Celiac disease is an inherited condition that runs in families. If you have a first-degree relative with celiac disease, your risk of developing the condition is 10 times higher than the general population.
2. Celiac disease affects people of all ages: Celiac disease can develop at any age, from infancy to old age. It is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 30 and 50.
3. Celiac disease is more common in women: Women are more likely to develop celiac disease than men. The reason for this is not fully understood, but it may be related to hormonal differences.
4. Celiac disease is often misdiagnosed: Celiac disease can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to those of other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is estimated that up to 80% of people with celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
5. Celiac disease can cause a wide range of symptoms: The symptoms of celiac disease can vary widely from person to person. Some people may have no symptoms at all, while others may experience diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, fatigue, and weight loss.
6. Celiac disease can lead to serious health problems: If left untreated, celiac disease can lead to a number of serious health problems, including malnutrition, osteoporosis, infertility, and an increased risk of certain cancers.
7. The only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet: The only way to manage celiac disease is to follow a strict gluten-free diet. This means avoiding all foods that contain wheat, barley, and rye, as well as any products that may contain hidden sources of gluten.
8. Gluten-free foods are not always healthy: While there are many gluten-free foods available, not all of them are healthy. Many gluten-free products are high in sugar, fat, and calories, and may not provide the same nutritional value as their gluten-containing counterparts.
9. Cross-contamination is a major concern: People with celiac disease must be careful to avoid cross-contamination, which can occur when gluten-free foods come into contact with gluten-containing foods or surfaces. This can happen in restaurants, at home, or even in grocery stores.
10. Celiac disease is a lifelong condition: There is no cure for celiac disease, and it is a lifelong condition. However, with proper management, people with celiac disease can lead healthy, active lives. It is important for people with celiac disease to work closely with their healthcare providers and dietitians to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need and avoiding gluten.