Originally published: 21.AUG.2020
Last updated: 13.NOV.2023

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that’s triggered by consuming food containing gluten - a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It’s estimated that as many as one in 141 people in the United States have celiac disease and don’t even realize it [1].

If celiac disease goes untreated, it can cause:

  • Malnutrition
  • Bone weakening
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Increased risk of other autoimmune conditions
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis

See also: Celiac Disease: What are the Signs and Symptoms?

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What Damage Can Celiac Disease Cause?

When celiac disease goes undiagnosed or untreated, there are a handful of complications that may occur, these include:

  • Malnutrition: Celiac disease ultimately affects how effectively your digestive system works. In some untreated cases, this can result in your small intestine being unable to absorb enough nutrients - at times this will lead to anemia and weight loss [2].
  • Bone weakening: When your body doesn’t fully absorb nutrients, it can lead to a deficiency in important vitamins and minerals; this can sometimes lead to osteomalacia in children and osteoporosis in adults [3].
  • Pregnancy complications: If celiac disease goes undiagnosed or untreated, it can increase a woman’s risk of pregnancy-related problems as well as reproductive issues.
  • Lactose intolerance: Those who have celiac disease are more likely to develop lactose intolerance. The damage celiac disease causes to your small intestine can result in abdominal pain and diarrhea after eating or drinking products that contain lactose [4].
  • Increased risk of other autoimmune conditions: Individuals with one autoimmune condition are at an increased risk of developing others. Untreated celiac disease is sometimes associated with autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto's disease) and type 1 diabetes.
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis: Dermatitis herpetiformis is a skin manifestation of celiac disease, characterized by itchy, blistering rashes. This skin condition affects around 10% of people with celiac disease.

How do You Know You Have Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is often referred to as a "silent disease" because its symptoms can be subtle or mimic those of other conditions. Many individuals with celiac disease may not realize they have the condition, attributing their symptoms to other factors.

Common symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Gastrointestinal issues such as abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss

Untreated celiac disease can cause a number of complications which is why it’s so important to get tested if you’re experiencing discomfort when consuming foods containing gluten. This test can be done by taking a visit to your doctor or from home with a home sample collection kit.

LetsGetChecked’s Celiac Test Kit will be able to identify celiac disease antibodies. Your online results will be available within 5 days and our dedicated medical team will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. The test must be taken following six weeks of a gluten-containing diet to ensure accurate results.

See also: Celiac Disease vs Gluten Intolerance: What’s the Difference?

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  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. Celiac Disease. Online: Niddk.nih.gov
  2. Mayo Clinic. Celiac Disease. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2019
  3. NHS. Celiac Disease. Online: NHS.uk, 2019
  4. Mayo Clinic. Celiac Disease. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2019