Celiac disease: what it is

Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes an immune reaction of the body to the intake of gluten: a protein complex present in many cereals, such as barley, wheat and rye. In Italy over 200,000 patients suffer from celiac disease, but, taking into account undiagnosed cases (for example asymptomatic), the actual number would be around 600,000. The immune reaction, if not diagnosed and treated , triggers an ' inflammation in the small intestine (small intestine) which prevents correct absorption of nutrients, compromising the health of the patient concerned.

In celiac subjects, eating gluten triggers an immune response which affects the ' small intestine ; the persistence of this response produces a ' inflammation that damages the fundamental structures of the small intestine, the intestinal villi, causing a flattening and consequently an inability to absorb nutrients (malabsorption). Intestinal damage can cause weight loss, bloating and sometimes diarrhea. Malabsorption in particular of vitamins and trace elements can cause damage to various organs including the nervous system, bone, reproductive system, blood system. There is no cure for celiac disease, but following a strict gluten-free diet can help manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing.