Does your stomach hurt and you can’t figure out why? Do you have diarrhea and feel exhausted? You may be suffering from celiac disease. Celiac disease is caused by your body’s response to the gluten consumed through the food you eat. The good news is that gluten intolerance is treatable.
Gluten intolerance refers to three types of disorders: autoimmune celiac disease (CD), allergy to wheat and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oat, which causes these disorders in genetically predisposed people.
The First Symptoms
What Is It? Celiac disease is the intolerance of gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley, oatmeal and rye (and of course the food produced with them). The body’s reaction to gluten results in the destruction of the inner wall of the small intestine. Symptoms and manifestations of celiac disease vary widely from person to person depending on age and overall health.
- In adults, and at the initial stage of the disease, a general feeling of weakness and fatigue is experienced. This is followed by discomfort in your gastrointestinal system, which is mild at first but grows over time. Since there is a reduction in your body’s ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients through the intestines, illnesses like anemia, osteopenia, and osteoporosis may develop. The risk of developing nervous system disorders and hormonal imbalances also increases.
- In children, the first symptoms typically include nausea, vomiting, anorexia, anemia, dermatitis and oral mucosa.
- In infants, the first symptoms that lead to a celiac disease diagnosis are diarrhea, frequent, bulky and particularly malodorous stools, gastrointestinal discomfort, weight stagnation or weight loss.
How Do I Know If I Have It?
Once you feel the initial symptoms, you will likely see a doctor. The doctor will order blood tests to detect the presence of antibodies against gliadin, reticulin and intramuscular. If these antibodies are present in the blood, the next step is to identify the disease, with a sample biopsy of the small intestinal inner wall, obtained by gastroscopy. Modern medical practices call for a definitive diagnosis of a series of three biopsies after switching from a diet with gluten to one without.
How Is It Treated?
Although celiac disease is quite serious and a chronic disease, it is important to remember that it is treatable. Treatment is extremely effective and does not require medication or medical interventions. Treatment consists of adherence to a strictly gluten-free diet, which helps restore the wall of the small intestine to its normal condition and maintain it.
Living With It
When first diagnosed, the illness and the accompanying mandatory, lifelong diet may feel overwhelming. However, soon you realize that the disease is easily kept in check simply by changing eating habits to alternatives that you are equally fond of. With a little organization, you can adapt to a gluten-free diet without feeling too deprived and forced. There are also so many gluten-free options now available in markets and restaurants that you might even be duped into thinking there’s a celiac disease epidemic happening. Remember to check with your health insurance provider to see if food purchased in the treatment of your condition is covered.
Here is a quick guide to following a gluten-free diet.
Safe Selection (Gluten-Free)
White Milk (fresh, condensed, sweetened, powdered, cream)
Cheese (white or yellow)
Yogurt with fruit or chocolate
Canned fruit or pulses
Whatever is cooked in the same oil as foods containing gluten
Flour from wheat, rye or oat
Yogurt with cereal
Here are some classics you can try from Amazon.
- Betty Crocker Bisquick Pancake and Waffle Baking Mix
- KIND Bars, Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt
- Larabar Gluten Free Bar, Blueberry Muffin
- Food Should Taste Good, Multigrain Tortilla Chips
- Simple Mills Almond Flour Mix Pizza Dough
Read more great nutrition information at WhatDetox.com