Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that presents as a permanent intolerance to gluten, a protein complex found in certain grains such as oats, wheat, kamut, barley, rye and triticale. It is estimated that to date, about 100,000 people have been diagnosed with celiac disease – and each year there are 10,000 new diagnoses, with an annual increase of about 10%. Among the causes of celiac disease are environmental factors, such as the presence of gluten, and genetic factors. Almost all individuals with celiac disease have detectable genetic variants in their HLA-DQ genes. Clinical diagnosis of celiac disease is extremely difficult because it can be associated with a wide range of both gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal symptoms, or may even have no clinical symptoms at all.
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