Celiac versus Non-celiac

Gluten is a protein molecule with a unique found in wheat, barley and rye. One in 130 people have celiac or gluten intolerance (non-celiac). When the doctor told me I have celiac, I educated myself. Luckily, today there are more gluten free products in grocery stores but eating out can be tricky. Some restaurants say they do gluten free but do not cook in separate part of the kitchen. This means if you have celiac, there is 99% chance you will get sick.

I realized many people have it and I don’t feel alone. My running friends understand that cross contamination will make me sick. But my bike friends don’t understand celiac and think it is an allergy. I hope this explanation of celiac, they will understand: The huge difference between celiac and gluten intolerance, celiac is an autoimmune disease. With celiac, the gluten attacks the lining of the small intestine. The small intestine is lined with finger like projections called villi, which secrete digestive enzymes and absorb nutrients. When eating gluten, it can block the villi. Through time this can damage or destroy small intestine. Gluten intolerance doesn’t affect the small intestine. There are many symptoms to gluten: skin rash, bloating, vomiting and diarrhea. Mal-absorption caused by celiac can lead to other autoimmune diseases cancer to diabetes.

I hope this explanation have many understand and respects those with celiac.

Published by Pam Houck

Work in the health industry as personal trainer, running and multi-sport coach. As an athlete with celiac disease and asthma, I don't let it limit me to compete in road races and triathlons.

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