The Cd is an autoimmune disease (in which the body generates reactions against invaders, but which are in fact the body itself, and therefore lead to localized lesions or systemic) that occurs in persons who already has this genetic predisposition, and therefore could (probably) be hereditary. Usually the diagnosis is given in the first months of life, with the introduction of the porridge in the child’s diet, but it can only manifest itself in adolescence or adulthood.
When a celiac person eats gluten, it triggers an immune response in the intestine, which occurs as a kind of abrasion of the mucosa, preventing the absorption of nutrients. Gluten damages the digestive tract, especially the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients. The immune system responds by damaging the villi of the small intestine, which are responsible for absorption of nutrients from food into the bloodstream.
Today this “disease” is increasingly known, and there is a lot about it through websites and associations dedicated to that purpose.
The life of celiac is increasingly simple with alternative foods, which are resembling more with “normal” foods, without distinguishing or bring embarrassment to those who might have. The less positive fact, which still remains, is that such alternatives are pretty expensive, but they are essential on a perfectly normal day.
Estimate that about 100 thousand people in Portugal are celiac, but only eight thousand are diagnosed (information given by the Portuguese Association of Celiac), this translates into about 1 in every 134 person being celiacs in Portugal. Comparatively, there are about 500 000 diabetic patients in Portugal, some of those may be simultaneously celiacs.