Celiac or coeliac

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Celiac and coeliac are two different spellings of the same word. We will examine what celiac and coeliac mean, when each of these spellings is used and where the words came from.

Celiac refers to an auto-immune disease or allergy involving reactions to gluten, which is present in wheat, rye and barley. Celiac may refer to the disease or the person who has the disease. If a celiac eats gluten, it destroys the lining of the intestine, causing diarrhea, malabsorption of nutrients, bloating. A multitude of symptoms may present that are not easily traceable to celiac disease. Others may present no symptoms for a number of years, even though damage is occurring to the intestinal lining. One must have a genetic predisposition for celiac. It is estimated that five out of six cases of celiac remain undiagnosed. While celiac disease was first described in the 200s, the cause was unknown until the 1950s. There is no cure for celiac disease, only control through diet. Celiac is the American spelling.

Coeliac is the British spelling. The word coeliac is derived from the Greek word koiliakos, which means pain in the bowels.


The results revealed those in the high intake group had similar rates of heart disease than people in the low intake group, concluding that those who avoid eating gluten by choice and not due to a condition like celiac disease aren’t actually helping their cardiovascular systems. (The Atlantic Journal Constitution)

Georgia Rawlings and her friend Annette Bryner once organized a support group for celiac sufferers in Cache Valley and it was a time when they became fast learners about their gluten intolerance. (The Cache Valley Daily)

Some people, however, simply can’t tolerate gluten in their system – like those who suffer from coeliac disease, meaning it’s important for them to maintain a gluten free diet for health reasons. (Cosmopolitan Magazine)