What is Celiac disease, the condition that Harnaaz Sandhu is suffering from
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What is Celiac disease, the condition that Harnaaz Sandhu is suffering from

Recently, Harnaz Sandhu, Miss Universe 2021 revealed that she has been diagnosed with celiac disease

What is Celiac disease, the condition that Harnaaz Sandhu is suffering from

Celiac disease, also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy or celiac sprue, is an autoimmune disorder. The reaction occurs when an individual with the same disease consumes gluten, a protein commonly present in wheat, barley and rye. Recently, Harnaaz Sandhu, Miss Universe 2021 has also revealed, that she has been diagnosed with celiac disease. She opened up about the disease after being trolled for gaining weight, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

Speaking to PTI, Sandhu revealed, "I'm one of those individuals who was first bullied that 'she's too skinny and now they bully me saying 'she's fat'. Nobody knows about my celiac disease. That I can't eat wheat flour and many other things." Although weight loss is common in Celiac disease, it may also lead to weight gain.

When someone with celiac disease eats something with gluten, their body overreacts to the protein and damages their villi, a part of the small intestine. This hampers the process of absorbing nutrients from the food by the small intestine. According to WebMD, a healthcare website when a condition goes undiagnosed person can come across serious complications like malnourishment, loss of bone density, miscarriage, infertility or even neurological diseases or certain cancers.

Also read | Importance of exercise for women with PCOD

Experts say an early diagnosis of the disease reduces the chances of developing any other conditions. However many individuals do not get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Signs and symptoms of Celiac disease

Signs and symptoms of celiac disease can vary from adults to children. Some of the digestive signs and symptoms for adults are:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating and gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation


Signs and symptoms unrelated to the digestive system
Anaemia, usually from iron deficiency
Loss of bone density (osteoporosis) or softening of the bone (osteomalacia)
Itchy, blistery skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
Mouth ulcers
Headaches and fatigue
Nervous system injury, including numbness and tingling in the feet and hands, possible problems with balance, and cognitive impairment
Joint pain
Reduced functioning of the spleen (hyposplenism)

Symptoms of Celiac disease  in children
Children with celiac disease are more likely than adults to have digestive problems, including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Swollen belly
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Pale, foul-smelling stools

When a child is not able to absorb nutrients from the food properly, they can come across some following shared symptoms.

  • Failure to thrive for infants
  • Damage to tooth enamel
  • Weight loss
  • Anaemia
  • Irritability
  • Short stature
  • Delayed puberty
  • Neurological symptoms include attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, headaches, lack of muscle coordination and seizures

Experts reveal that many individuals do not come across any symptoms which makes diagnosis complicated.

The exact cause of the disease is yet not found but the genes combined with food items consisting of gluten and other factors can contribute to celiac disease. According to Mayoclinic activities like Infant-feeding practices, gastrointestinal infections and gut bacteria may also result in the same.

This autoimmune disorder can also become active after some changes happen with the body like after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection or severe emotional stress. If your parents or siblings have it, there is a 1 in 10 chance that you may get it.

Risk factors
The following type of people is prone to celiac disease.

  • A family member with celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Down syndrome or Turner syndrome
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Microscopic colitis (lymphocytic or collagenous colitis)
  • Addison's disease

As the exact reason for celiac disease is not found exactly, therefore proper treatment is also not known. However, till now the controlled diet and exercise have been proven best to control the condition. People with celiac disease can take rice, chia, soy, tapioca, nuts, beans, quinoa and millets in their diet.