Celiac disease

Celiac disease is a digestive disease. It damages the small intestine and disturbs the ability to absorb nutrients from food.

People suffering from celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten (a protein) in food. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, and rye.

If people with this disease accidently do eat foods with gluten in it, then it will damage their small intestine, which is the response from their immune system to gluten.

Nutrients from food are absorbed into the bloodstream through villi, which are tiny finger-like projections of the lining of the small intestine. Villi increase the surface area available for absorption.
Gluten will affect the ability to absorb nutrients, as villi will be lost as a result of eating foods containing gluten. So without villi, it doesn't matter how nutritious the food is, as the nutrients will not be absorbed.

Celiac disease is classified as an autoimmune disorder, as it is the immune system that does that the damage.
However, since nutrients are not being aborbed, it it also categorized as a disease of malabsorption because nutrients are not absorbed.

Other names for Celiac disease are:

  • celiac sprue

  • nontropical sprue

  • gluten-sensitive enteropathy

Celiac disease is a genetic disease.

Possible causes of triggering celiac disease

  • surgery

  • viral infection

  • emotional stress

  • childbirth

  • pregnancy