What Is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is a common health disorder affecting more people than breast cancer or Type 1 diabetes mellitus, but is greatly underdiagnosed.1
One person in a hundred is estimated to have celiac disease, but less than 5% of these people are being diagnosed. The other 95% are being harmed on a daily basis by eating common food like bread and pizza.
Celiac Disease is serious and the personal cost can be great. If left untreated, Celiac Disease can cause health problems ranging from inconvenience to debilitation and even death. It can affect work and relationships. The good news is that many health problems can be avoided by early diagnosis and eating a gluten-free diet.
To date, gluten is the only known environmental factor to play a direct causal role in celiac disease, and the only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet.2
The Name: Celiac Disease
“Celiac Disease” was the name given to this disorder because it was thought to primarily cause digestive symptoms. “Celiac” means bowel. Other names for celiac disease are Gluten Sensitive Enteropathy, Celiac-Sprue, and Non-Tropical Sprue.
The term, Celiac Disease, is used worldwide. Medical coding systems use it for billing purposes and as a tracking tool. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9-CM) code for Celiac Disease is “579.0 celiac disease.” This is the code your doctor will use for your medical records.
Celiac Disease Explained
Celiac Disease is a common, inherited lifelong sensitivity to gluten, a protein in the grains of wheat, barley, rye, and oats. When the immune system is activated by gluten, the inherited predisposition becomes a digestive disorder that results in malabsorption of food nutrients with or without digestive symptoms like pain, bloating, diarrhea or constipation.
Active Celiac Disease involves a specific auto-immune response in the small intestine that inflames and damages the vital tissues of the lining. Resulting health problems are called multi-systemic because they may involve any body system. Symptoms may be few and mild or mind boggling in number and severity.
Characteristics Of Celiac Disease:
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- National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference Statement, Celiac Disease, August 9, 2004;1-14. [↩]
- Pozo-Rubio T, Olivares M, Nova E, De Palma G, Mujico JR, Ferrer MD, Marcos A, Sanz Y. Immune development and intestinal microbiota in celiac disease. Clin Dev Immunol. 2012;2012:654143. Epub 2012 Sep 11. [↩]