Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disorder that is caused by the consumption of the protein gluten. Gluten is found in many foods that contain wheat, barley or rye. The most common foods that contain gluten are bread, pasta, pizza, most pastries and cereal.
CD is becoming more and more common. It now affects 1 out of 100 people in the U.S. In order to treat CD, people have to completely avoid eating gluten and have to go on a gluten free diet the rest of their life. There is no cure however; people that follow a strict gluten free diet can live a long healthy life.
So what happens if you eat foods that contain gluten?
An immune reaction occurs in your small intestine, causing damage to the surface of your small intestine.
The small intestine has small finger like hairs or projections on the lining of the small intestine called "villi" that are used to absorb nutrients for the body.
When a person eats gluten, a reaction happens and the villi actually get flattened out and destroyed.
Since the villi get damaged, there is a decrease in the absorption of vital nutrients or "malabsorption" can occur which can lead to stunted growth in children and damage to other vital organs in the human body such as the liver, nervous system and brain.
What exactly is GLUTEN and why does it need to be eliminated? Below is an excellent video describing what gluten is and how it relates to celiac disease. It's almost 9 minutes long but it is well worth the viewing!
Elizabeth Hasslebeck who is one of the co-hostesses on the TV show "The View" has recently been diagnosed with CD. There is an excellent 7 minute You Tube video of Elizabeth on her show interviewing her own Doctor about the disease. He does an excellent job describing CD in detail including how it affects the digestive system, its symptoms and what gluten free foods you can eat.
I encourage you watch her interview and then continue looking through our other website pages to read more about Nick's story!