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Celiac Disease Information

Gluten is a protein that is found in Wheat, Rye, Oats and Barley. In certain people, this protein is seen as an invader by the body and the body’s own defense mechanism attack it. The area under attack is the villi, the small finger like projections in the small intestine, where absorption takes place. This is called Celiac Disease. The only but highly successful solution to Celiac disease, is to follow a completely gluten free diet.

The history:

About 10000 years ago, mankind moved away from a purely hunter -gatherer society and the began to grow his own grains, thus causing the start what we know today as agriculture. It was the first time crops of wheat and barley appeared. This also coincided with the beginning of what we now know as celiac disease. As we became more advanced farming methods improved. This was especially true during the agricultural revolution at the end of the 18the century and beginning of the 19th century, as farming methods became more and more technologically advanced, grains became a common part of our diet.

As today, it forms the majority of the Western world’s modern diet. Almost every dish or food substance in our fast paced modern convenience lifestyle contains gluten in one form or another.

In celiac disease, there is an abnormal immune reaction, known as an auto immune reaction, where the body sees the proteins found in gluten as a foreign invader. The area of the body that is attacked is the viili or finger like protrusions that make up the small intestine. This is the area of the colon where the absorption of all the food we eat is takes place and nutrients are transported to the blood stream for use in the body. In celiac disease, these villi, atrophy and cannot properly work. Therefore no matter how much food is eaten, the body cannot properly absorb it and this leads to malnutrition.

Other symptoms include:

Digestive complaints

abdominal bloating and pain
chronic diarrhea
vomiting and nausea.
constipation
pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool ( due to the mal absorbed foods)

And other symptoms include

• weight loss
• unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
• bone or joint pain
• bone loss or osteoporosis
• depression or anxiety
• tingling numbness in the hands and feet ( known as neuropathy)
• arthritis
• seizures
• fatigue
• missed menstrual periods
• infertility or recurrent miscarriage
• dermatitis herpetiformis ( occurs in about 20% of Celiac patients)

Often there are many incorrect diagnoses until the correct one is made. This is made by blood tests, which determine if there are the anti bodies in the body to gluten and then a gastroscopy, in which a small camera can see into the small intestine and a biopsy is made to confirm diagnosis.

Despite the digestive problems and other symptoms, it vital to remain gluten free after diagnosis, as continuing to expose the body to gluten can lead to malignancies of the colon itself.

Luckily maintaining a gluten free diet is possible and relatively easy and will lead to improved health and well being.

Great to see more and more articles been written and published on Celiac Disease. This one is great; looking forward to see what comes next.

Check it here

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