Inside Elisabeth Hasselbeck's Experience With Celiac Disease

Retired television personality Elisabeth Hasselbeck has been open about her years-long battle with Celiac disease. According to MedicalNewsToday, celiac disease is when the immune system reacts to gluten, a binding protein often found in grains, like wheat or barley. At least one in 100 people are affected by the autoimmune condition, including Hasselbeck. She first opened up about her experience with Celiac disease more than a decade ago and has since continued to educate others about the disease. When a person with Celiac disease is exposed to gluten, it can cause inflammation in the gut. In return, the body reacts with symptoms that can range from mild to severe.

Digestive symptoms of Celiac disease include bloating, nausea, vomiting, gas, irregular stool, and chronic diarrhea. Weight loss, mouth sores, and joint pain are just a few of the non-digestive symptoms a person can experience as well (via MedicalNewsToday). For Hasselbeck, her trouble with the disease started in the late 1990s when she was a sophomore in college, reports ABC News. A severe bacterial intestinal infection knocked her off her feet for a week, and she had no idea it would keep her off her feet for years.

How Elisabeth Hasselbeck managed Celiac disease

Before her Celiac disease diagnosis, Hasselbeck had a love for cooking. Because it took so long for her to receive her diagnosis, she fell out of love with cooking. There wasn't much Hasselbeck could eat without it giving her stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, and more symptoms of Celiac disease (via ABC News). The former "The View" co-host decided to write books about Celiac disease in hope of making people curious about the condition and living gluten-free, Self reports. The 45-year-old also wrote a recipe book titled "Deliciously G-Free," which includes gluten-free recipes. She says the book was created to keep her family's food legacies alive without sacrificing taste.

There's only one way to treat Celiac disease: a strict gluten-free diet. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, people with Celiac disease must avoid foods and drinks like bread and beer, as they both contain gluten, such as barley, wheat, or rye. Even eating small pieces of food that contain gluten can lead to small intestine damage for those with Celiac disease. Celiac disease that's left untreated can result in serious health problems, such as type 1 diabetes and heart disease.