No medical jargon and no WebMD that makes you think you’re going to die.
From one regular ‘ol person to another. Celiac disease explained in hella simple terms.
Alright, let’s go.
So, what is celiac disease?
It is an autoimmune disease that you are born with. Gluten acts like a pathogen, it attacks the immune system, and white blood cells can’t fight it off. This happens in your intestines and the gluten damages your intestinal lining - specifically the villi. The villi are finger-like projections that increase surface area to maximize nutrient and vitamin absorption when you digest food. But with celiac disease, these villi get cut down, thus malabsorption occurs.
Now, there are people who are gluten intolerant (but not celiac). Their body doesn’t see gluten as a pathogen and they don’t have a serious immune response. But, they can feel the same symptoms as celiacs and gluten will make them also feel sick.
Next, what are the symptoms of celiac disease?
- Diarrhea or constipation (everyone is different)
- Constant fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Headaches and migraines
- Depression, anxiety, irritability
- Brain fog
- A flat butt (yes, for real)
- Weakened immune system (you get frequent colds, cases of the flu, and pick up things when traveling)
- Joint pain and arthritis
Umm, can celiac disease be cured?
Celiac disease can’t be cured, only managed through a gluten-free diet. You can figure out if you are celiac through a blood test or a biopsy. But, in my opinion, and everything I’ve been through, an elimination diet is more clear, easier, and free.
What I do to manage it:
- Lucky, celiac disease is pretty easy to self-manage. You just need to deeply educate yourself first so you don’t accidentally buy couscous.
- Be dialed in about cross-contamination and know how to ask the right questions at restaurants.
- If you are curious about going gluten-free, I’ve already gotcha covered with this guide.
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Peace, love, and gluten-free pastries,