Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have coeliac disease cannot tolerate a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, and barley. When people with coeliac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine. Villi, which form the lining for the small intestine are lost, and as nutrients from food are absorbed into the bloodstream through these villi, a person can become malnourished, regardless of the quantity of food eaten.

Coeliac disease is a genetic disease, meaning that it runs in families. Sometimes the disease is triggered, or becomes active for the first time, after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection, or severe emotional stress.