How Does Celiac Disease Affect the Body?


Quick Answer

Celiac disease affects the body long-term by causing disorders such as anemia and osteoporosis and heightening the risk of lymphoma, according to WebMD. Ongoing problems for celiac disease sufferers include gas and bloating, weight loss, alterations in bowel movements, weakness and feeling tired.

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Full Answer

Celiac disease is found in people who are sensitive to gluten, which is a protein found in barley, wheat and rye, notes WebMD. In people with gluten sensitivity, eating gluten causes an abnormal immune response and symptoms of celiac disease. Over time, this response damages the small intestine and causes the body to be less effective in absorbing nutrients from foods that are eaten, causing weakened bones and slowed growth in children.

The cause of celiac disease is not understood by medical science, although some people are genetically predisposed to its development, states WebMD. Having a close family member with the disease increases the likelihood of developing it.

People with celiac disease must eat a modified diet for life, according to WebMD, but can still eat most things like meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and fruit. They may need to limit or eliminate cow's milk and dairy products, at least during the beginning of treatment, while the intestines heal. Some people, however, may be unable to eat dairy at all after their diagnosis.

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