Gluten intolerance is a medical condition in which gluten has an adverse effect on the body. Gluten intolerance, also known as the celiac disease, is the autoimmune disorder of the small intestine. This disease is most commonly genetically transmitted and it outbreaks in people of all ages. Sometimes, this disease outbreaks during the pregnancy or may be triggered by stress. Gluten intolerance isn’t the same as the wheat allergy. Besides of the wheat, gluten may also be found in rye and barley.
Symptoms of gluten intolerance
In many of the patients this disease is asymptomatic and that is why it is particularly hard to estimate the real number of sufferers. It is thought to affect somewhere between 1 in 1.750 to 1 in 105 people in the United States. However, there are a couple of symptoms that may be helpful in recognizing gluten intolerance.
What happens in a patient’s body, when the gluten containing foods enter the system is that the body mistakes gluten for a foreign substance and starts the negative immune reaction. Upon exposure to gluten, the enzyme tissue transglutaminase modifies the protein, and the immune system cross-reacts with the small-bowel tissue, causing an inflammatory reaction. This further obstructs the absorption of the nutrients and causes the wide range of known symptoms.
Most usual symptoms of gluten intolerance in adults are abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea or constipation, characteristic pale and loose stool, bloating in the abdomen, weakness, weight loss, skin rash, joint pain and bone disorders, irritability, lethargy, and tiredness.
Because of the gastrointestinal symptoms, gluten intolerance is commonly mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome. However, diagnosing the disease and undergoing the proper treatment may help to prevent some of the severe diseases associated with gluten intolerance. For example, celiac disease increases the risk of small intestine cancer and lymphoma of the small bowel.
Gluten intolerance treatment
If any of the symptoms are present, person should consult a doctor without delay. The patient will probably be asked to keep a diary of foods eaten every day. This is a strong reference for a proper diagnosis. If diagnosed, disease should be treated instantly in order to avoid severe damage to intestines.
The intolerance itself cannot be cured, but there are a lot of medications that can help in treatment of the symptoms. Patient will also be advised to avoid foods containing gluten and to check product labels for gluten, on a regular basis. A patient will have to get used to a gluten-free diet, a diet completely free of ingredients derived from gluten-containing cereals.