Medically reviewed on August 1, 2022 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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It is estimated that as many as 1 in every 100 people may suffer from some form of celiac disease. Celiac disease or coeliac disease is a debilitating autoimmune disease.  It’s challenging to diagnose due to the wide range of symptoms that it can cause.
Further complicating matters is the fact that there are three different types of celiac disease. Each type may present varying symptoms and complications.
Diagnosis can be a long process that may involve an endoscopy, skin biopsy, intestinal biopsy, elimination diets, and even genetic testing.  This guide will walk you through the basics of celiac disease and diagnosing this complex disorder.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases occur when your body accidentally attacks your cells. Instead of recognizing certain cells as friendly, your body thinks they are invaders and attacks them. When this happens, you can suffer from many serious health problems.
In celiac disease, the trigger that causes your immune system to attack your cells is gluten consumption.  Gluten is a type of protein found in a variety of foods, including:
When those who have celiac disease consume these foods, the immune system attacks the villi that line the small intestine. Over time, the villi sustain damage that prevents proper nutrient absorption.
Celiac disease can also make you more susceptible to other health problems. For example, those who suffer from celiac disease may be more likely to develop: 
This is why diagnosing and treating celiac disease as soon as possible is critical.
Celiac disease is not the same condition as gluten intolerance or non celiac gluten sensitivity despite sharing some similar digestive symptoms. It is an autoimmune disorder, not an allergy.
There are three different types of celiac disease. Each type may present different symptoms. The three variations include: 
In classical celiac disease, the key symptom is the malabsorption of nutrients, leading to poor growth in children.
Non-classical celiac disease can have other symptoms, including:
In silent celiac disease, individuals may not experience any symptoms. However, damage to their small intestine can occur without their knowledge.
As you can see, there are many symptoms associated with celiac disease. Some can be difficult to notice or pinpoint. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should speak with your doctor to start the process of narrowing down potential causes.
Diagnosing celiac disease can be a multi-step process. Typically, your healthcare professional will go through the following steps with you: 
The wide variation in celiac disease symptoms and severity can make diagnosing celiac disease difficult. It’s important to remain patient and follow your healthcare provider’s instructions throughout the process to ensure a proper celiac disease diagnosis.
Celiac disease is a debilitating autoimmune disease. When sufferers consume gluten, their immune response is severe and can cause lasting damage to the small intestine. This can lead to improper absorption of nutrients and poor overall health. Diagnosis can be quite tricky and may require an endoscopy, genetic testing, and more.
If you think you may have celiac disease, you should take action right away. One of the first steps can be to take an at-home test to see if you have the antibodies that are indicators of celiac disease. The Everlywell Celiac Disease Screening Test can show you if you’re at increased risk. Then, our qualified patient care team will work with you on the next steps.
Take the first step to better health with Everlywell.