Hundreds of thousands of people around the world suffer from gluten intolerance. The symptoms are very different from one person to another,...
There is no specific number of people diagnosed with gluten intolerance, because according to experts, for each diagnosed case there are another 10 to be diagnosed. Symptoms vary so much from one person to another that they can be mistaken for other diseases or conditions.
What is gluten
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, oats, barley, and rye. This protein is what gives the wheat dough elasticity, among other things, and although it is very beneficial for the body, many people find it impossible to digest it.
Our body does not contain the necessary enzymes to be able to fully digest gluten, and those pieces that remain undigested are what cause problems ranging from gluten sensitivity to celiac disease itself.
Celiac disease or just gluten sensitivity?
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Diseases, gluten sensitivity or intolerance, and the celiac disease itself, are not the same thing.
In the former, symptoms, such as tiredness, stomach pain, and diarrhea, do not necessarily cause damage to the small intestine. But in celiac disease not only does gluten affect the intestine, but it can cause more serious problems in the body, also preventing the body from obtaining the necessary nutrients.
According to the Surgical Medical Center for Digestive Diseases of Madrid, Spain, gluten sensitivity or intolerance is closely related to celiac disease, and it is very difficult to distinguish one patient from another since the symptoms are often similar.
How is it acquired?
According to the United States National Library of Medicine, celiac disease is genetic, although the exact causes are unknown. And the disease can manifest itself at any time in life.
The small intestine has villi that capture nutrients. In people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, the immune system reacts negatively to gluten and causes damage to those villi, making it impossible to capture nutrients.
The 10 symptoms you should attend to
The symptoms mentioned here are those that experts consider should be taken into account when informing the doctor. It is the professional who will perform a test to determine if the patient suffers from gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
For the World Organization of Gastroenterology, celiac disease is difficult to diagnose because symptoms can vary not only from one patient to another, but they can be different in the same patient throughout his life.
After eating foods that contain gluten, a person who is intolerant to it may have the following symptoms:
2 Abdominal pain and bloating
3 Emotional instability
4 Digestive problems
7 Nausea and vomiting
8 Skin problems
9 Lactose intolerance
10 Weight fluctuation
How to get to the diagnosis
In addition to taking into account the symptoms, doctors will have to do different medical tests to arrive at the diagnosis of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
According to Dr. Concepción Núñez, many patients are not diagnosed correctly due to a lack of knowledge of professionals about celiac disease. According to the expert, more professional training is needed so that doctors can efficiently address the number of patients suffering from this condition worldwide.
A simple finger stick
A new, simple, and low-cost technique have been implemented in some countries to quickly and safely detect if a patient suffers from celiac disease. Experts from the University of Granada, Spain, developed a technique that consists of pricking a finger to obtain a drop of blood.
The research was published in the journal Nature, and it represents a great advance in the diagnosis of the disease. However, experts say that the detection system is not infallible, since it can test negative in a child, and he can develop the disease later in life.
When the doctor suspects that there may be intolerance to gluten or that there are indications that you have celiac disease, you can order the practice of certain studies.
Specific blood tests
Skin tests, to know if the patient reacts to gluten
Life without TACC
Many of us cannot imagine life without flour. However, living gluten-free is possible. Many celiac patients do it, and the truth is that many companies have adapted to the growing demand of consumers who need to eat products without TACC (wheat, oats, barley, and rye)
According to Fundación Convivir, people with gluten intolerance should be very careful with cross-contamination of food. That is, with the consumption of those products that may contain traces of gluten in the manufacturing process. And you should always look at the labels of what we buy to find the symbol that indicates that the product is gluten-free.
There is life after wheat
In addition to wheat, there are other flours with which delicious foods can be made, and that are suitable for celiac patients or for people intolerant to gluten.
Potato or sweet potato starch
A gluten-free diet is possible. It just takes more awareness in society to take into account all those foods that do not have wheat, oats, barley, or rye.
Natural foods like fruits, vegetables, and some legumes are perfectly healthy for people with celiac disease. Milk, rice, olives, butter, fish, eggs, honey, and some nuts, among others, are safe foods that can maintain a balanced diet for the patient.
Never stop consulting when you feel any of the aforementioned symptoms. A correct diagnosis will give you a better quality of life.