Is Celiac Disease Contagious or Life-threatening?

If you’re just learning about celiac disease, you might be wondering, “Is it contagious?” The short answer is no, as far as we know celiac disease is not contagious.
That said, celiac disease can be hereditary. If you or an immediate family member has received a celiac diagnosis, other immediate family members should be tested as well. Celiac disease can be “silent,” or have no obvious symptoms, so even someone in apparent good health could unknowingly have active celiac disease.

Another common question is some variation of, “will celiac disease kill me?” Again, the short answer is no, celiac disease will not immediately kill you. Long term, however, celiac disease is potentially fatal. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten from certain grains, their immune system will attack the digestive tract, causing a lack of nutrients. Over time, untreated celiac disease will leave an individual lethargic, prone to sickness, and nutrient-starved. In effect, if you have celiac disease and continue eating gluten, you’ll slowly starve to death. Untreated celiac can also lead to other health issues, such as osteoperosis, or even certain cancers.
The good news is that, once treated, your gut will probably start the healing process right away. Full recovery may take up to two years, but it can be done. Most individuals with celiac notice an improvement within 72 hours of giving up gluten.
Sources: (.pdf format)

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