What is Celiac Disease? (from celiaccentral.org)
Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. What does this mean? Essentially the body is attacking itself every time a person with celiac consumes gluten.
Celiac disease is triggered by consumption of the protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the finger-like villi of the small intestine. When the villi become damaged, the body is unable to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, which can lead to malnourishment.Left untreated, people with celiac disease can develop further complications such as other autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, and cancer.
If you wonder if you might have celiac disease, this questionnaire here might be helpful. Gluten intolerance doesn't necessarily mean you have celiac disease. However, if you want to know for sure if celiac disease is what you are dealing with, you can ask your doctor to do a blood test to find out. I had an MD allergist did one for a me a few years ago.