Celiac Disease in the Elderly

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease in the elderly is a serious autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system. People with celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging the lining of the small intestine. This can lead to a host of problems, including malabsorption of nutrients, weight loss, anemia, and fatigue. If left untreated, celiac disease can also increase the risk of some cancers.

Celiac Disease in Seniors

Older adults are at an increased risk for developing celiac disease, and the condition is often underdiagnosed in this population. That’s because the symptoms of celiac disease can be similar to those of other conditions common in older adults, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or osteoporosis. For this reason, it’s important for older adults to be aware of the potential signs and symptoms of celiac disease, and to see a doctor if they are concerned that they may have the condition.

Celiac Disease Management

There is no cure for celiac disease, but the condition can be managed by following a strict gluten-free diet. This diet requires avoiding all foods containing gluten.  Gluten is found in many processed and packaged foods, as well as in some medications. For people with celiac disease, even a small amount of gluten can cause damage to the intestine, so it’s important to be diligent about reading labels and avoiding hidden sources of gluten.

Our in-home caregivers can prepare gluten free meals for your loved one.  Our homecare plans can be customized for all of you and your family’s needs, and we can help you decide which services are best.

If you think you or someone you know may have celiac disease, talk to a doctor about it.  

For more information on celiac disease, please visit the following website:

Celiac Disease Foundation