What is celiac disease?

Also known as gluten enteropathy, celiac sprue, and gluten intolerance, celiac disease is an abnormal reaction of the body to gluten proteins. Gluten is the main ingredient in grains such as wheat, rye, barley and spelt.

Many people confuse gluten allergies with celiac, but the key difference is that celiac is an autoimmune disease, meaning that in the presence of gluten the immune system of the affected person overreacts. It then incorrectly recognizes the body, itself, as an enemy to be combated. As a result, the small intestine becomes inflamed and causes improper nutrient absorption and causes symptoms such as bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

How common is celiac disease?

For many years, celiac was considered a rare childhood disease. However, improved diagnostic methods suggest that approximately 2 million Americans suffer from this type of gluten intolerance. Though celiac disease has been gaining increasing attention in the last few years, experts expect that a large number of patients have not yet received the correct diagnosis, and a much higher number of unreported cases is assumed. 

Celiac Disease: Lifelong dietary change required

The challenge with this form of gluten intolerance is that there is no proven route to "recovery" – people who live with celiac today are expected to have the disease for the rest of their life.  The only real course of treatment is to follow a strictly gluten-free diet. Relatively frequently, celiac patients also suffer from a temporary fructose intolerance. For these people, many Frusano products are easy to digest because most of them are gluten-free as well as fructose-free or low-fructose.

The good news is that a celiac patient who strictly adheres to a gluten-free diet can lead a completely normal, symptom-free life like any other person. 

Healthy through eating gluten-free

Many individuals with celiac disease see it as a benefit that they can treat their illness through diet, and that medication is not required. The initial phase, in which the newly-diagnosed patient must change their diet, can be particularly frustrating; but over time, eating gluten-free becomes second nature. In addition, the selection of gluten-free products in supermarkets and drugstores is now so vast that celiac patients can find substitutes for almost every kind of gluten-containing food.

Further reading:

Symptoms of celiac disease (gluten intolerance)

Diagnosing celiac disease (gluten intolerance)

Treatment for celiac disease (gluten intolerance) - What can I still eat?