ALOPECIA AREATA and CELIAC DISEASE
Alopecia Areata is a hair loss condition characterized by the rapid onset of hair loss in a specific area. Any hair-bearing surface can be affected, but the surface where alopecia areata is most noticeable is the scalp. It usually begins with one or more small round bare patches. Although alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease, it is also associated with other diseases, among them is celiac disease.
Although celiac disease is a digestive disease, if poorly managed or undiagnosed, it can have a profound effect on other systems of the body. Many people who have celiac disease do not have digestive disease symptoms like diarrhea, gas, or bloating. Instead, celiac disease may present itself, and it often does, as one of many symptoms not related to the digestive system. Alopecia areata can be a manifestation (symptom) of celiac disease. If you have alopecia areata, it could be the protein gluten that you are ingesting that is initiating an immune response and in turn mitigating alopecia areata. There certainly could be other reasons why one could have alopecia areata. But with active celiac disease, whether you know you have celiac disease or not, your small intestine is not only inadequately absorbing nutrients, but it has also initiated an immune response to gluten that will continue until gluten is removed from the diet. Only a gluten-free diet has the potential to reverse this malabsorption in the small intestine and shut down the immune response to gluten.
3 million Americans are living with celiac disease.
97% of them are undiagnosed.
The number of people with celiac disease in the U.S. could fill Fenway Park 77 times.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive process of the small intestine. When a person who has celiac disease consumes gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, the individual’s immune system responds by attacking the small intestine and inhibiting the absorption of important nutrients in the body. Undiagnosed and untreated, celiac disease can lead to the development of other autoimmune disorders, as well as osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions, and in rare cases cancer.
Because celiac disease can present with over 300 different symptoms, the average length of time it takes a symptomatic person to be diagnosed in the U.S. is four years.
Ask your doctor about a simple blood test to reveal if you have celiac disease. In many cases alopecia areata can be a manifestation of celiac disease. If you are ultimately diagnosed with celiac disease, a gluten free diet could be your ticket to better health. To find out more about celiac disease click here.