While most people think that celiac disease is a recently discovered disorder, if you look closely at its history, this assumption isn't exactly correct.
The very first instance of celiac disease might have occurred during the 2nd century A.D. Aretaeus of Cappadocia took note of a condition called "koiliakos" (derived from "koelia," the Greek word for abdomen) that causes abdominal pain and diarrhea. Back then, patients with this illness were called celiacs.1
Over the years, there have been many breakthroughs regarding celiac disease. These include Dr. Samuel Gee's publication of its first modern description, Dr. Margot Shiner's finding of a diagnostic technique for the illness and Dr. Ludvig Sollid's Oslo group's discovery of genes associated with the disease.2
Defining Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a serious genetic and autoimmune disorder wherein the small intestine becomes damaged (particularly in the lining called the villi) due to the consumption of a protein called gluten that's found in grains like wheat, rye and barley. This disorder goes by other names, such as coeliac disease (particularly in the U.K.), celiac sprue, non-tropical sprue and gluten sensitive enteropathy.3
How Prevalent Is Celiac Disease?
The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center says that at least 3 million Americans have celiac disease, and around 1 in 133 healthy people have the disorder.4 Genetics account for a huge number of these cases, as people who have a first-degree relative (parent, child or sibling) with the condition have a 1 in 10 chance of developing celiac disease.5
Other risk factors for celiac disease include genetic disorders like Turner's or Down syndrome and autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune thyroid or liver disease, Addison's disease or Sjogren's syndrome.6
You or Your Loved Ones Can Effectively Manage This Disease
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with celiac disease, a lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet is your best course of action.7
Living a gluten-free lifestyle has become quite popular today, and even famous personalities like actress Zooey Deschanel, singer Miley Cyrus and TV host Elisabeth Hasselbeck have proclaimed to follow this diet or at least minimized their intake of gluten.8 However, this diet is not a fad, as going gluten-free could greatly benefit those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Find out the best food choices you should make for a gluten-free diet in these Celiac Disease pages. Discover more information about the different symptoms of the disease, as well as prevention techniques and home remedies that you can practice.