Celiac.com 02/08/2007 - While celiac disease can affect anyone, it is more rare in Africans and Asians, and occurs most frequently in whites of Northern European ancestry, and in people with autoimmune disorders, such as:

Also, celiac disease and the tendency to get celiac disease runs in families. If one member of a family has celiac disease, the odds are that about one in ten of their first-degree relatives will also have it. People may harbor this tendency for years or even decades without showing signs or getting sick. Then, some kind of severe stress, like childbirth, infection, physical injury, or surgery can "activate" celiac disease.

While the precise mechanism of this activation, and of the intestinal damage is unclear, removal of gluten from the diet usually brings about quick relief of symptoms and promotes intestinal healing in most patients.

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