Celiac Disease: The Complexities Of Gluten Sensitivity

Celiac Disease: The Complexities Of Gluten Sensitivity
Do you know that an untreated celiac disease can have serious side effects?

It’s critical to distinguish between non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and celiac disease. NCGS is a unique condition that is frequently incorrectly referred to as gluten intolerance.

Written by saumya pandey |Published : September 1, 2023 6:12 PM IST

Celiac disease is kind of a chronic autoimmune disorder that occurs when your body negatively responds to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It’s because of gluten that your dough becomes elastic and bread chewy. When people with this disease consume gluten their immune system reacts to it by attacking the lining of the small intestine. It damages the villi, the finger like projections present along the walls of small intestine. The role of villi is to absorb nutrients from the food you eat but if the villi is damaged, small intestine can’t properly digest the food. This can even lead to malnourishment and loss of bone density. Person with the celiac disease may experience variety of symptoms including abdominal pain, anemia, bloating or feeling of fullness, bone or joint pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas, heartburn, itchy, blistery rash, headaches or fatigue, mouth ulcers, nausea, nervous system injury, including numb or tingling hands or feet, balance problems, or changes in awareness, weight loss.

Let’s delve into the complexities of the disease and how it is often linked to gluten sensitivity.

Genetic Predisposition

Genetic component affects the celiac disease; this can increase complexities of celiac disease. The HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes are associated with a higher risk of developing the condition. However, not everyone with these genetic markers develops celiac disease, highlighting the role of environmental factors in its development.

Are Gluten Sensitivity And Celiac Disease The Same Thing?

People often connect these two but gluten sensitivity or intolerance is totally different from celiac disease. Celiac disease is considered an autoimmune response to gluten that means bodies react to gluten considering it a virus. On the other hand non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a distinct condition. It’s critical to distinguish between non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and celiac disease. NCGS is a unique condition that is frequently incorrectly referred to as gluten intolerance. While those with NCGS experience symptoms resembling celiac disease upon consuming gluten, they lack the immunological response or intestinal damage that is present in those with celiac disease. It is essential to comprehend this distinction for proper administration.

How Can It Be Diagnosed?

Celiac illness can be difficult to diagnose. The early steps involve blood tests that measure antibodies including anti-tissue transglutaminase (anti-tTG) and anti-endomysial antibodies (EMA). However, if a person is already following a gluten-free diet or only consumes a little amount of gluten, these tests may result in false negatives. An endoscopic biopsy of the small intestine is frequently required to confirm the diagnosis.

Long-term Effects On Health

Untreated celiac disease can have serious side effects. Malnutrition, osteoporosis, infertility, and an increased risk of several malignancies, including lymphoma, can result from the continuous damage to the small intestine. As a result, it’s critical to identify and treat the problem as soon as possible.


About 1% of people worldwide have celiac disease, making it more frequent than previously thought. However, NCGS is thought to be more common and to affect a larger proportion of the population. Despite this, NCGS often has less severe symptoms and doesn’t have the negative effects on health that come with celiac disease.

Treatment: Adopting A Gluten-Free Eating Plan

A stringent, gluten-free diet for the rest of one’s life is the cornerstone of celiac disease management. All gluten-containing foods must be avoided, including those made from wheat, barley, rye, and their derivatives. Due to the fact that gluten can be found in sauces, condiments, and even cosmetics, following this diet might be difficult. Celiac disease sufferers must learn to read labels carefully and explain their dietary requirements when eating out.


Beyond dietary preferences, celiac disease is a complex disorder with many different manifestations. It is an autoimmune condition having a genetic basis, a variety of symptoms, and possibly serious health effects. It must be distinguished from non-celiac gluten sensitivity in order to be managed effectively. We may aspire for earlier diagnosis, better treatment options, and better support for people living with celiac disease with more awareness and continued research.

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