Celiac Disease 101: Here's Why This Condition Requires a Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Medically Reviewed by Carolin Schneider, MD

Photo Courtesy: Michele Constantini/PhotoAlto/Getty Images

Celiac disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that often manifests in people with a genetically determined risk. The prevalence of celiac disease in the United States is about one percent, but it has risen in the last few years. Most often, symptoms may include abdominal pain and/or discomfort and diarrhea, but, at times, it can begin more silently, often in association with iron deficiency anemia or osteoporosis. However, due to this variance in symptoms, it's often difficult to diagnose celiac disease in patients early on. 

Although there is no cure for celiac disease, one's symptoms can be effectively managed by following a gluten-free diet. In fact, following a gluten-free diet is a must for individuals who are diagnosed with celiac disease since they have an increased risk of complications, including intestinal malignancy and severe malabsorption.