• Is a lifelong condition
• Is genetically predisposed
• Requires gluten to manifest itself
• Can manifest with wide-ranging symptoms (intestinal or extra-intestinal)
• Has an age of onset ranging from early childhood through late adulthood
• Is autoimmune in nature
• Is common, affecting approximately one in a hundred people (Caucasians, Middle-Easterns and West-Asians—Indian/Pakistani)
• Remains undiagnosed in 97 per cent of cases.
What is Celiac Disease
Celiac disease was first recognized by the Greeks in the second century AD and the word celiac is derived from ‘koiliaks’, a Greek word meaning ‘suffering of the bowels’. It is caused by an immune reaction (hypersensitivity) to gluten, the main storage protein found in wheat and certain other cereal grains including rye, barley, triticale, spelt and kamut. The most toxic component of gluten in celiac disease is gliadin (an alcohol-soluble component of gluten). Others are secalins from rye and hordeins from barley.
Celiac disease is a permanent condition that damages the lining of the small intestines. This limits the absorption of nutrients, particularly iron, folate, calcium and vitamin D. It also increases intestinal permeability which permits entry of other toxins, which could induce autoimmune diseases. Being autoimmune in nature, failure to recognize celiac disease in time, can lead to serious complications, including cancer. Usually, one does not outgrow the disease and it requires lifelong management.