Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance
What is it?
Celiac Disease is also referred to as gluten sensitive enteropathy (GSE), gluten intolerance, or celiac sprue. It is considered to be the most under-diagnosed common disease today, potentially affecting 1 in every 133 people in the USA.
It is a chronic, inherited disease, and if untreated can ultimately lead to malnutrition. Gluten intolerance is the result of an immune-mediated response to the ingestion of gluten (from wheat, rye, and barley) that damages the small intestine. Nutrients are then quickly passed through the small intestine, rather than being absorbed. To develop celiac disease three (3) things must be present: 1) you must inherit the gene, 2) consume gluten, and 3) have the gene triggered. Common triggers may include stress, trauma (surgeries, pregnancy, etc.), and viral infections.
Approximately 1 in 20 first-degree relatives could have Celiac triggered in their lifetime. The disease is permanent and damage to the small intestine will occur every time you consume gluten, regardless if symptoms are present.
-Gluten Intolerance Group of North America
Needless to say, if you have been diagnosed as Celiac, you should NEVER consume gluten (as far as you're concerned- we all know poisoning and cross contamination is difficult to prevent, but make sure you talk to whatever restaurant you go to, g/f or not because you are educating them about the disease).
It may take several months for the small intestine to completely heal from gluten when you are Celiac, which is why it is so important to take your diagnosis (or symptoms) seriously because every time you are tainted, it can lead to a long recovery on your insides.
We recommend diagnosis, but often people are symptomatic, get tested, and are negative. These people cut out gluten and see notable differences. Speak with a healthcare professional before you decide to do any of these measures as your diet and nutrients is important.
Common Symptoms Include:
- weight loss
- chronic fatigue
- bone pain and muscle cramps
Other symptoms may include:
- constipation alternating with diarrhea
- premature osteoporosis
Many people will not have classic symptoms and some people may have just one or more symptoms. Other symptoms can include anemia, chronic fatigue or pain syndromes, migraines, nerve problems, infertility or miscarriages, and other apparently unrelated conditions. Patients are frequently misdiagnosed as having Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), spastic colon/bowel, or Crohn’s disease.