Health officials say that celiac disease is a digestive and autoimmune disorder that affects more people than have been clinically diagnosed largely due to the lack of strong, discernable symptoms that an individual would readily detect.
Like gastroesophageal reflux disease, celiac disease is a digestive condition that affects a person’s ability to break down and absorb essential nutrients from food and drink consumed.
This kind of disorder damages to the lining of the small intestine when foods with gluten are eaten. Gluten is a kind of protein found in foods like bread, crackers, and pasta. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, the body's natural defense system (immune system) attacks the gluten and damages the small intestine. Symptoms of celiac disease can include gas, bloating, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, and vomiting. Stools may be bulky, loose, and more frequent. The damage to the intestine also makes it hard for your body to absorb vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. This can lead to anemia, osteoporosis or the development of colon polyps. This information can help you learn more about how to eat so you can manage your symptoms, prevent long-term problems, and still get the nutrition you need.
Untreated celiac disease can make it hard for you to get the nutrients you need. Eating a variety of healthy foods that do not have gluten can help you keep your weight up and stay strong. The main treatment for celiac disease is to avoid eating any foods that contain gluten. Even the smallest amount of gluten is harmful and can cause symptoms in some people. Even if you don't have symptoms, you still need to avoid gluten totally to prevent damage to the intestines and long-term problems. Some people with celiac disease need to avoid cow's milk and milk products when they first begin treatment. Most people can slowly add dairy foods back into their diet as the intestine heals. But they will still need to avoid foods with gluten for the rest of their lives. If you have questions about following a gluten-free eating plan for celiac disease and colon cancer prevention in general, talk to your doctor or dietitian to learn more.