What Is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is activated when you eat gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. It is what gives the dough elasticity and gives bread its chewy texture. When somebody with celiac disease eat foods with gluten, their body cannot digest the protein and damages the wall of their small intestine because of this the small intestine cannot properly absorb nutrients and essential minerals from the foods. In the end, this can lead to undernourishment, loss of bone density, miscarriage, infertility or even neurological disorders or certain cancers. Many people with celiac don’t even realize that they have celiac disease. The damage that happens to the intestine is very slow, and symptoms are so slow that it can take many years to diagnose the same.
Celiac disease affects at least 1 in 100 people in the world.
Celiac Disease Symptoms
Celiac disease is very different from food allergy, so the symptoms that occur are not same. If a person has celiac disease and unknowingly eat something with gluten, they may have common symptoms like.
• Abdominal pain
• Bone or joint pain
• Itchy, blistery rashes
• Mouth ulcers
• Pale or smelly poop
• Upset stomach or vomiting
• Weight loss
• Headaches & fatigue
These symptoms can be seen in children also right from an early age and can have an effect on their overall health & growth. Some studies have also shown mood swinging & neurological problems like learning disabilities and ADHD.
Celiac Disease Causes
The definite cause of celiac is yet to be found, generally, it is hereditary that tends to run in families and might be related to certain genes. Some medical events like a viral infection or any surgery can activate this disease, any kind of emotional suffering or even pregnancy can trigger its symptoms. If one of your close family members has celiac, then the chances of getting the disease automatically increases.
How is celiac disease diagnosed?
Diagnosis starts with a physical examination and a medical history. Also there are common blood tests which includes: complete blood count (CBC), liver function tests, cholesterol test, serum albumin test etc.
What is Gluten Intolerance or sensitivity?
Gluten intolerance is gluten sensitivity or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Though there are no tests to diagnose gluten sensitivity, the condition can be diagnosed upon ruling out celiac disease through testing.
Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include:
• Gastrointestinal discomfort
• Skin conditions like eczema, rashes
• Joint pain or numbness
• Brain fogginess
Difference between Celiac disease and gluten intolerance
Celiac disease is different than gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity. People with gluten intolerance may have same symptoms and must avoid gluten. But they do not have any direct response or damage to the small intestine.
How is celiac disease treated?
The mode to treat celiac disease is to permanently remove gluten from your diet. For that one needs to consult a doctor and then see a nutritionist who then suggests you a full proof and nutritional diet for the same. Your doctor will explain you how to avoid gluten while following a nutritious and healthy diet. The nutritionist will also give you advices on how to read food product labels so you can avoid any ingredients that contain gluten. People with celiac disease may be recommended to take vitamin and mineral supplements to prevent deficiencies. Symptoms can improve within days of removing gluten from the diet.
Food precautions for people with celiac disease
Following a gluten-free diet is a tedious task. Fortunately, many companies are now making gluten-free products, which are readily available for the consumers. One should read the labels properly before buying the specific product if you have celiac disease, it is important to know which foods are safe to consume.
Ingredients that must be avoided includes wheat, rye, barley, durum , semolina, spelt and most of the processed foods like bread, cakes, pies, cereals, cookies, salad dressings, oats, pasta, noodles, sauces, soups, candy etc.
One can choose from naturally Gluten-Free Foods
• Banana flour
• Chia seeds
• Flax seeds
Read food labels in processed foods
One step at a time
A person diagnosed with celiac should follow a proper and nutritional diet to overcome this disease and once these adjustments are made, your symptoms should improve within some time of making these dietary changes. Following a gluten-free diet has become easier as many gluten-free options are becoming more readily available in the markets. You can refer to NIHKAN products range for nutritious gluten-free products as well.
Some Facts & Myths :
• You can outgrow the celiac disease.
It is a myth that you can outgrow the celiac disease. Once diagnosed, you have to live it for life. The only treatment is a strict gluten-free diet for life.
• Gluten is a protein found in only grains like wheat, rye and barley.
Gluten can be found in a lot of other grains like oats as well and in processed foods like bread, pizza, pasta etc.
• If someone with celiac disease accidentally eats gluten, they will instantly become unwell.
Symptoms can vary from person to person. They can become unwell after few hours of consuming gluten and the symptoms can include severe diarrhoea, vomiting or skin rashes and it can last several days.
• Celiac disease only occurs in children
Celiac disease can affect men and women of all ages.
Restaurant eating Guide :
Best Vegetarian & Gluten-free eating out options for celiac:
• Pancakes/Crepes/Dosas/Chillas made with Millets, Banana flour, Legumes, Rice Flour
• Sprouted Bean salads with vegetables (without croutons)
• Millet/Rice based Cereals
• Millet/Rice/Legumes based breads, chapatis, flat breads
• Rice dishes like pulao, biryani, fried rice
• Clear soups
• All Fruits
• All Vegetables