Gluten is a protein which can be found in rye, barley and wheat. People with gluten sensitivity suffer from a disease, called Celiac Disease. In this case, the immune system sees gluten as an intruder, thereby attacks it. In the long run, this causes damage to the lining of the intestine, prevents its capability of absorbing nutrients, thus causing anemia, fatigue, weight loss, diarrhea, and bloating. If not treated, Celiac disease can lead to even more grave issues.

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However, this disease is very rare and only 1 % of the people in the western countries are affected. It is not precisely known what causes this disease, but there is a certain relation between the environmental factors, gluten protein and the genes. Celiac disease is not contagious, but it can be passed through the genes. How can you tell if you have this disease?

Symptoms and Signs in Adults

Adults who have Celiac disease often experience vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue. Moreover, they can also feel constipated, nauseous, bloated or can have pain in the abdomen. Furthermore, this disease can cause certain issues in the body which are not related with the digestive tract, but come from the inability of the body to effectively absorb nutrients. Over half of the adults with Celiac disease often experience bone density loss, anemia, bone softening, blistery or itchy skin rash, damage to the tooth enamel, joint pain, headaches, ulcers in the mouth, fatigue, acid reflux or heartburn, nerve damage represented by tingling and numbness in the feet or hands, issues with balance and cognitive impairment.

Symptoms and Signs in Children

Children younger than two could experience nausea, vomiting, muscle wasting, poor appetite, or diarrhea. Moreover, they could have swollen belly which is a clear sign of gluten sensitivity.

Older children could be experiencing constipation, diarrhea, and neurological issues such as ADHD, irritability, weight loss, learning disabilities, and lack of muscle coordination, seizures and headaches. Delayed puberty and short stature are also signs of this disease.

Itchy and Blistery Rash

Dermatitis herpetiformis is a type of rash which is associated with certain changes in the lining of the small intestine. These changes are identical with the ones that are associated with Celiac disease. Namely, Celiac disease might not produce serious digestive issues, and a person could feel an itchy and blistery rash on the buttocks, scalp, torso, knees or elbows.

Visit a Doctor If…

In case you think you have gluten sensitivity, it is advisable to go and see your doctor and have the proper test so that you can be properly diagnosed. If you are indeed diagnosed with Celiac disease, your doctor can give you an advice on which foods you need to avoid, and how to avoid any deficiencies that can occur as a consequence of a change in diet.

Going Gluten Free is the New Fad

It has become quite often to go gluten free nowadays, but there is no evidence to suggest that this is beneficial, unless of course you suffer from a Celiac disease.  The good news for people with Celiac is that it has become quite easy to find gluten free foods. According to Dr. Leffler, an assistant professor at Harvard University, people with Celiac will benefits from these foods, but the rest of them will just throw their money away, since gluten-free products are pretty costly.

People who do not have Celiac disease won’t have any benefits from a gluten-free diet. If you decide to change your diet without consulting a nutritionist or a doctor, there is a chance you can cause several nutrient deficiencies. The main reason for this is because most wheat products contain vitamins, vitamin B in particular.

Via MBG

 

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