Celiac disease

Celiac Disease: What is it

Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine. People with celiac disease can not tolerate gluten, a protein found in foods such as bread, pasta, cookies, pizza and any other food containing wheat, barley or rye. Even oats may contain gluten.

When a person with celiac disease eats foods containing gluten, it causes an immune reaction in the small intestine resulting in its damage and the consequent inability to absorb certain nutrients from food.

The small intestine is a tube approximately 35 mm in diameter and 5 m in length ranging from the duodenum to the colon. And 'the main venue of the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. The walls of the intestine (ie the mucosa) are formed by billions of villi, small thin and elongated structures that form between them of the loops. This particular configuration allows the absorption of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from food.

In the reaction of celiac intestinal mucosa flattens these loops and then cause malabsorption that can deprive the brain, nervous system, bones, liver and other organs of nutrients and cause vitamin deficiencies that can lead to other diseases.

This can be severe, especially in children, who need proper nutrition to develop and grow.

Some theories suggest that celiac disease manifested itself in man when it went from a diet of meat and dried fruit to a fat-based high protein like wheat. However, it is only in the last 50 years that researchers have obtained a better understanding of its causes and how to treat it.