Celiac disease is a disorder that results in damage to the small intestine when foods containing gluten, a protein found in various wheats and grains, are eaten. This genetic disease damages the villi, the structures of the small intestine responsible for absorbing nutrients from food. Celiac disease leaves people with celiac disease malnourished if they continue to eat foods containing gluten. The picture below depicts where the small intestine is located in the body.
Symptoms range in people who suffer from celiac disease. However, most will experience digestive problems, including abdominal pain, gas, and diarrhea. Moreover, patients can experience irritability, which is especially common in children.
In order to prevent these symptoms from occurring, a gluten-free diet must be adhered to (see our related post). Although not the easiest diet to maintain, gluten-free food options are becoming more common in grocery stores and restaurants.