Celiac Disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder. The symptoms are triggered by "gluten", the name given to certain protein in wheat (including spelt and kamut), barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). In celiac disease, the body's immune system responds abnormally to gluten resulting in inflammation and damage to the lining of the small intestine and reduced absorption of iron, calcium, folate and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K).

Common symptoms are anemia, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, cramps, constipation, delayed growth/short stature in children, bloating and irritability.


Celiac disease is now recognized as one of the most common chronic diseases in the world. It is estimated that it affects as many as 1 in every 100 people in North America. (1% of the world's population)  Celiac disease can occur at any age.

The only current treatment for celiac disease and its skin form, dermatitis herpetiformis is maintaining a gluten-free diet for life. Complete avoidance of gluten enables the intestine to heal and the nutritional deficiencies and other symptoms to resolve.

Dermatits herpetiformus (DH) is an expression of celiac disease characterized by a blistering, intensely itchy skin rash.  The rash is usually symmetrical and is found most frequently on the elbows, knees, buttocks and upper back.  Patients with DH often present with mild or no gastrointestinal sypmtoms, but villous atrophy occurs in the majority of cases.

May is Celiac Awareness Month!

Health Canada along with the Canadian Celiac Association and the Fondation Quebecoise de la Maladie Coeliaque has published a new pamphlet called :  Celiac Disease - the Gluten Connection

For more information about Celiac Disease and the gluten-free diet:

Canadian Celiac Association: www.celiac.ca

Fondation Quebeciose de la Maladie Coeliaque: www.fqmc.org

Source: Celiac Disease - the Gluten Connection, May 2009