Despite popular belief, celiac disease is a

About Celiac Disease

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a serious, genetic autoimmune disorder triggered by consuming a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. When a person with celiac eats gluten, the protein interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food by damaging a part of the small intestine called villi. Damaged villi make it nearly impossible for the body to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, leading to malnourishment and a host of other problems including some cancers, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, infertility and the onset of other autoimmune diseases. Celiac disease is :
  • A serious autoimmune disease
  • Genetic
  • Triggered by consuming a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye
When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the finger-like villi of the small intestine. Left untreated, people with celiac disease are at-risk for serious health consequences. View our more detailed "What is Celiac Disease" webpage

Fast Facts

  • An estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease.
  • It is estimated that 83% of Americans who have celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.
View more fast facts about celiac disease
Celiac Disease Symptoms & Risk Factors

Celiac Disease Symptoms

There are more than 300 symptoms of celiac disease, and symptoms can be different from person to person. If you have symptoms of celiac disease, especially ones that last a long time, you should ask your doctor for a celiac disease blood test. View a list of common symptoms of celiac disease Do you think you may have celiac disease? We've created a checklist of symptoms you can print to show and discuss with your doctor: Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist  

Genetics & Other Risk Factors

Celiac disease runs in families. Blood relatives of people with the condition have a higher risk of developing it as well. Learn more about celiac disease in families. Additional risk factors for celiac disease including having other autoimmune diseases or having the HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 genes. Learn more about celiac disease risk factors.
Celiac Disease Treatment

The Gluten-Free Diet

Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is a strict, lifelong gluten-free diet. Visit the Gluten-Free Food section of our website for more information, or download the Getting Started Guide: Getting Started With the Gluten-Free Diet  

Research Information

Researchers are working hard to find alternative therapies and possibly a cure. Visit the Research section to learn about celiac disease drug development. You can also help advance celiac disease research by joining Go Beyond Celiac:    
Celiac Disease Testing

Getting Tested

If you think you could have celiac disease, it's important to talk to your doctor about getting tested. Learn more about the testing process:

Family Testing

Celiac disease is serious and genetic. If you have celiac disease, then your blood relatives are more likely to have celiac disease.
Related Conditions

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

18 million Americans have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (frequently called, "gluten intolerance"). That’s 6 times the number of Americans who have celiac disease. Learn more about Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity  

Other Conditions

View a list of other relation conditions, including anxiety, cancer, depression, dermatitis herpetiformis, gluten ataxia, infertility, intestinal cancer, liver disease, type 1 diabetes, and more.