Celiac disease may affect different people in different ways. Symptoms may occur in the digestive system or in other parts of the body. For example, one person might have diarrhea and abdominal pain (or stomach pain), while another person may be irritable or depressed. A person with celiac disease may even have no symptoms. Because there are so many possible symptoms, most people do not fit the profile of a "typical celiac patient."
Even people with the disease who exhibit no symptoms are still at risk for the complications of celiac disease, including:
- Certain types of cancer, including lymphoma and cancer of the small intestines
- Miscarriage or birth defects
- Osteoporosis or osteopenia (see Celiac Disease and Osteoporosis)
- Delayed growth.
(Click Symptoms of Celiac Disease for more information on possible symptoms and complications of this disease.)
People with celiac disease tend to have other autoimmune diseases. The connection between celiac disease and these diseases may be genetic. These diseases include (but are not limited to):
- Thyroid disease, such as Grave's disease and Hashimoto's disease
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus for short)
- Type 1 diabetes
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjogren's syndrome
- Myasthenia gravis.