You can definitely die from celiac disease, in a variety of ways:
1. Dehydration – Extreme damage to the intestinal lining can lead to death through dehydration. In this case, the lining that is supposed to hold water in your body no longer functions. The gut actually pulls water from your body.
2. Malignancies – Malabsorption of nutrients or consistent damage to cellular structures leads to cancers: lymphoma, leukemia, intestinal, esophageal, etc.
3. Pregnancy complications – Nutrient deficiencies can lead to cardiomyopathy in the mother or birth defects in the fetus from folic acid deficiency, protein deficiency, etc.
4. Immunodeficiency – A weakened immune system can allow common illnesses to become deadly – the flu for example. Other illnesses normally fought off, are not.
5. Autoimmune diseases – Celiac disease, if not diagnosed and treated early, causes the body to react to other things in the body. As the body tries to unsuccessfully attack and remove gluten (because the person keeps eating it), the immune system stays on a heightened alert and starts attacking other things.
6. Malnutrition – Any health problem that comes from malnutrition of any one or more nutrient that can lead to death can be caused by celiac disease.
Here are just 6 examples of how celiac disease can kill you. It is a deadly serious condition caused by eating what is essentially a poison to susceptible people – people with celiac disease.
The gluten-free diet is the elimination of gluten from the diet. That is only the first step. The next step is determining any health problems that have arisen and treating them. The final step is ongoing identification of health problems that arise in the future to determine how to treat yourself.
John Libonati is Vice President and co-Founder of Gluten Free Works, Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.