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While some skeptics believe that gluten free is just a diet fad, others do it for health reasons. Taking on a gluten free lifestyle has become more common as people around the country have been diagnosed with celiac disease. What exactly is this disease, and how many people really need to go gluten free?

What is Celiac Disease?

People with celiac disease have gluten intolerance, a protein found in wheat, barely, and rye. Those with the disease have a hard time absorbing nutrients because of damage caused to the small intestine. While the cause of the disease is still unknown, studies have shown that families with a history of diabetes or Down syndrome are more likely to be diagnosed with celiac disease. More often than not, people don’t even know they have the disease, and the numbers of people who do have it are growing.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Scientists are skeptical as to why more and more people have celiac disease, but often attribute it to changes in our diets and the way food is processed, often with gmo food; others claim the disease is simply better diagnosed than it was in previous years. The most common symptoms of celiac disease include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating. Fatigue after consuming gluten is often a sign, as is frequent bathroom trips.

Who Has Celiac Disease?

According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, “The number of Americans with Celiac Disease would fill 936 cruise ships. Passengers on 908 of those ships would not even know they had it.” Currently over 2 million people in the United States are living with Celiac Disease. There is a difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, however, and any symptoms should be discussed with your doctor.

Source: Livestrong

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