Is Celiac Disease A Threat For Blacks?

assorted loaves of breadFor more than twenty years, while there may be nothing new about this Celiac disease, there are still a lot of questions, and confusion. Specifically about what it is, and who is at the highest risk.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a hereditary autoimmune disorder in which the small intestines are damaged and the absorption of essential nutrients is disrupted. Those individuals who live with celiac disease experience a severe inability to tolerate gluten, which is a common protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

When an individual with celiac disease ingests foods containing gluten, a response is triggered wherein their immune system immediately begins to attack the internal lining of the small intestine. This lining is made up of fingerlike protrusions known as “villi”, protrusions that vastly increase the surface area of the small intestine and facilitate the absorption of nutrients from foods that have been eaten and processed by the stomach.

In celiac disease (also known as “celiac sprue”), not only does the immune system attack and damage the sensitive and important lining of the small intestine in the presence of gluten, but the disease itself also causes a general malabsorption of nutrients from all foods ingested, thus the individual with celiac disease runs a constant risk of malnourishment, nutritional deficiencies, and the effects of those deficiencies.