Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Does celiac disease run in the family?"
My brother found out that he has celiac disease. I've also had a lot of stomach issues over the years but I really don't want to cut out wheat from my diet. Could I have it because he has it though? Does celiac disease run in the family?
Celiac disease is caused by an abnormal reaction to the protein gluten which is found in many different foods including wheat. The immune system in someone with celiac disease attacks the gluten in the gut causing inflammation and damage to the gut itself. Diarrhea, abdominal pain, and the inability to absorb nutrients into the body are all symptoms of celiac disease. There is no specific gene for celiac disease. In other words celiac disease is not passed down from mother or father to their children. However certain genetic factors, some of which you probably share with your brother, may increase your changes of having celiac disease. Without knowing anything else about you or your family, I would say that you have a higher chance than most other people of getting celiac disease, but I couldn't say what your risk is. Certainly it is not 100%. Since you are having stomach issues, you should definitely get these checked out. I would encourage you to continue to eat as you are now. Cutting gluten out of your diet now will make it much more difficult to figure out if you have celiac disease if you want tested later. The best physician for you to speak to about this is your primary care physician.
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