Categorized: About Celiac Disease

Why does the prevalence of celiac disease double every 15-20 years?

At this time, no one knows for sure why the prevalence of celiac disease doubles every 15-20 years. We do know that the prevalence of all autoimmune diseases is on the rise. The most accepted theory for this is the “hygiene theory,” which states that as our cultures get cleaner our immune systems get weaker.

(Updated .)

What is the prevalence for others in my family to have celiac disease since I’ve been diagnosed with it?

Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disease. The prevalence of celiac disease in 1st-degree relatives (children, parents, siblings) has been reported by numerous studies around the world to be significantly higher than in the general population, hence the need to screen every 1st-degree relative. The actual prevalence varies among the published studies, between 4-16%. Our… Read more »

(Updated .)

What’s the difference between active and inactive celiac disease?

Active and inactive celiac diseases have nothing to do with symptoms. Active celiac disease means that it’s not currently being treated, or that it’s not responding to treatment. Inactive celiac disease ensues when following a strict gluten-free diet and the disease is in remission–i.e., the immune system is not responding abnormally because there’s no gluten… Read more »

(Updated .)

What is “leaky gut?”

“Leaky gut” is not a medical term, although it’s widely used in the popular realm to indicate a condition characterized by increased intestinal permeability. The gut, by nature, is leaky. An inflamed state may accompany a number of disorders, such as celiac disease, food protein allergic enteropathy, acute gastroenteritis, and others.

(Updated .)

Are celiac sprue and celiac disease the same thing?

Celiac disease was called celiac sprue long ago. Celiac disease that doesn’t respond to a gluten-free diet is called refractory sprue or refractory celiac. There is another disease, which is completely unrelated, called tropical sprue.

(Updated .)

Is celiac disease a rare condition?

No. Celiac disease affects at least 1% of the United States population, or nearly 3 million Americans—it’s the most prevalent genetic autoimmune disorder in the world. Yet, upwards of 90% of those who have it remain undiagnosed.

(Updated .)

What do you believe is the underlying cause of celiac disease?

There is no certainty, but the hygiene hypothesis is a prevalent belief: the reduced exposure to bacterial antigens during the first 18 months of life causes the immune system development to be skewed toward producing a response to subsequent antigens that leads to higher risk of allergic and autoimmune conditions.

(Updated .)