Celiac disease is a condition caused by damage to the lining of the small intestine. This damage comes from a reaction to eating gluten. This is a substance that is found in wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats. It is also found in food made from these ingredients.
The damaged intestine does not absorb needed components of food.
Sprue; Nontropical sprue; Gluten intolerance; Gluten-sensitive enteropathy; Gluten-free diet celiac disease
The exact cause of celiac disease is unknown. The lining of the intestines have small areas called villi which project outward into the opening of the intestine. These structures help absorb nutrients.
- When people with celiac disease eat foods with gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging the villi.
- Because of the damage, the villi are unable to properly absorb iron, vitamins, and other nutrients.
- As a result, a number of symptoms and health problems may occur.
The disease can develop at any point in life, from infancy to late adulthood.
People who have a family member with celiac disease are at greater risk of developing the disease. The disorder is most common in Caucasians and persons of European ancestry. Women are affected more often than men.
People with celiac disease are more likely to have: