When I opened my 23andMe report in December 2019, there were a few small surprises. My lineage was 13.4 percent Italian (more than I thought), 82.9 percent English and Irish (about what I expected), 0.8 percent Scandinavian (wait, really?) and 0.1 percent Korean (news to me).
When I reached the "health" section of the report, I anticipated an increased risk of macular degeneration—a hereditary vision problem my grandmother had—but instead found a surprising notation.
Celiac disease: slightly increased risk.
According to my report, I was the proud owner of one variant in the HLA-DQA1 gene, which put me at a slightly increased risk of developing celiac disease, a condition I was only vaguely aware of.
A few months later, I started having unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms and eventually ended up with a celiac diagnosis via endoscope biopsy in October 2020. My gastroenterologist confirmed the diagnosis with a celiac