Celiac Disease is one of the most common genetic conditions in the world yet 95% of people remain undiagnosed. Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found mainly in foods but may also be found in everyday products such as medicines, vitamins, and lip balms.
Researchers are studying the reasons celiac disease affects people differently. The length of time a person was breastfed, the age a person started eating gluten-containing foods, and the amount of gluten-containing foods one eats are three factors thought to play a role in when and how celiac disease appears. Some studies have shown, for example, that the longer a person was breastfed, the later the symptoms of celiac disease appear.
Symptoms also vary depending on a person’s age and the degree of damage to the small intestine. Many adults have the disease for a decade or more before they are diagnosed. The longer a person goes undiagnosed and untreated, the greater the chance of developing long-term complications.
People with celiac disease tend to have other diseases in which the immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells and tissues. The connection between celiac disease and these diseases may be genetic. They include:
- type 1 diabetes
- autoimmune thyroid disease
- autoimmune liver disease
- rheumatoid arthritis
- Addison’s disease, a condition in which the glands that produce critical hormones are damaged
- Sjögren’s syndrome, a condition in which the glands that produce tears and saliva are destroyed
At Women’s Health & Fitness Expo Barbara Porzio will be hosting a workshop entitled Celiac Disease & the Gluten Free Diet. In this workshop we will learn about how gluten triggers an autoimmune response in those with celiac. Undiagnosed or untreated, celiac can lead to nutritional deficiency, intestinal cancers, osteoporosis, miscarriage, and failure to thrive in children. Come to the Expo and join Barbara for this instructional workshop & learn all about Celiac Disease.