A disease that is caused by sensitivity to wheat and gluten. It is the most serious form of wheat/gluten sensitivity. The others—gluten intolerance and wheat allergies—are less serious. Symptoms and conditions of celiac disease include, but are not limited to, bloating, cramps, diarrhea, stomach pain, malabsorption, skin rashes, muscle and joint pain, headache, and fatigue. Some people may experience a much more severe form of these symptoms when gluten is consumed. Eventual destruction of the small intestine may be the result. Other serious diseases, such as cancer, may also occur. For a person with the less severe condition, gluten intolerance, consumption of gluten will cause distressing symptoms but, in most cases, will not cause permanent harm to the intestinal tract.
It is extremely important that celiac disease sufferers remove all gluten-containing foods from their diets. This may seem difficult in some cases because so many foods contain gluten. You must read all food labels to ensure that a particular product does not contain gluten. Keep in mind that some products that you have become accustomed to as being gluten-free (based on the ingredients list), might be reformulated with new ingredients, some of which may contain gluten, especially if the product was not originally marketed as a gluten-free product. You can be confident that products marketed as gluten-free, do not contain gluten.