So, what exactly is gluten intolerance? How do you know that gluten isn’t good for your body? At what age do you know gluten is making you weak from within? Is it genetic or did I eat too much wheat? The list of questions and queries regarding gluten intolerance are never ending. Let me start with some basic facts. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, oats and barley. Gluten is found in most packed goods and anyone with a gluten intolerance has to avoid all food that is cross contaminated with gluten.
The classic symptoms of gluten intolerance are as follows:
• Diarrhoea • Stomach Pain • Vomiting • Bloating • Fatigue • Brain Fog • Wind • Low Blood Count (Anaemia) • Osteoporosis • Rash on the body
Gluten Intolerance can be of three typesWheat Allergy, Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Sensitivity. Symptoms for all these three diseases are similar and the level of positive or negative tests define the level of gluten intolerance.
Wheat allergy is when someone is allergic to wheat grain only and might not be allergic to the protein called “gluten”. Symptoms of wheat allergy can range from mild to life threatening. Severe difficulty in breathing called anaphylaxis can be one of the signs but remember that a person can out grow a wheat allergy.
Celiac diseaseis a serious genetic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of protein gluten found in wheat, rye, oats and barley leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. To diagnose celiac sisease levels of TTG and IgA are checked through a blood test and the gold standard to confirm is a biopsy. Celiac disease is hereditary and runs in the family. People with first degree relatives who are suffering from celiac disease have 1 in 10 risk of developing the disease. It is a life long disease that requires no medication except for following a very strict gluten free diet and making sure there's no cross contamination either.
If celiac disease goes undiagnosed it will lead to the failure to absorb nutrients during critical years of growth and development and that can cause several health problems such as delayed puberty in adolescents, short stature and weight loss.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is intolerance to the protein gluten found in wheat, rye, oats and barley. But either the blood test or the bioposy is negative. These people experience better gut conditions when not consuming wheat, rye, oats and barley.A lot other food allergy conditions such as FODMAP have been diagnosed in people suffering from non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
The truth is that it is very tough to diagnose gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Sometimes a person can have these signs and still go undiagnosed and keep suffering till they reach old age and by then the venial is very badly damaged and all the nutrients have been drained out of the body.
I feel very fortunate that my son was diagnosed at a very early stage when he was just 5 years old. Some strange signs he had which made me realize that something was wrong were that his shoe size didn’t increase for a whole year, his weight hadn’t increased though he had grown taller at a slower rate, he was biting his nails and he constantly complained of stomach ache. When the doctor checked him, it was found that his growth had slowed down from 95 percentile to 75 percentile. Awareness is the key to handling any problem.
About the Author:
Aarti Sarin Jain is an avid baker and runs an exclusive gluten-free test kitchen. She discovered the joys of a gluten-free living after her elder kid was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. She often experiments with new forms and varieties of gluten-free food without compromising either on taste or quality. You can read more on her blog, www.bakingfrommyheart.com.
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