Contrary to the general belief, gluten intolerance is not a food allergy. Rather, it is a sort of a genetic disorder, which primarily deals with sensitivity to the protein named gluten. Commonly, the people suffering from the Celiac or Coeliac disease are prone to gluten intolerance symptoms. However, non-Celiac gluten sensitivity is also seen in some cases. Gluten, composite of the proteins gliadin and glutenin, is commonly found in all types of grains, particularly wheat, barley, oats and rye. The condition of gluten intolerance arises when the immune system of the body fails to recognize the gluten protein and deems it as foreign. This leads to inflammation and damage in the lower digestive tract (the intestines).
People prone to gluten intolerance can damage their small intestines, even on the consumption of a small amount. Furthermore, continued consumption of gluten can lead to lead to harmful conditions like gastrointestinal cancer. The situation can even weaken the system, disabling it to absorb nutrients from dietary items. Medical conditions such as malnutrition, anemia, weight loss and osteoporosis can also occur due to consumption of gluten. Besides this, the person becomes prone to a host of other illnesses and diseases. Thus, people suffering from gluten intolerance should maintain a proper check on their diet, lead a healthy lifestyle and follow proper eating habits.
Signs & Symptoms Of Gluten Intolerance
Given below are some probable symptoms of gluten intolerance:
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain
- Nutritional deficiencies due to mal-absorption, leading to low iron levels
- Gastro-intestinal problems (bloating, pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea)
- Fat in the stools (due to poor digestion)
- Aching joints
- Headaches and giddiness
- Exhaustion and fatigue
- Irritability, attention and behavioral changes
- Infertility, irregular menstrual cycle and miscarriage
- Cramps, tingling and numbness
- Slow infant and child growth
- Decline in dental health
- Numbness and tingling
- Chronic sinusitis
- Abdominal pain
- Aching joints
- Skin inflammations
- Crohn’s disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
The symptoms of gluten intolerance, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and joint pain, might vary from person to person. The peculiarity of the diseases is that different people experience different symptoms. While some of them might not encounter even a single one, others might be suffering from myriad. This makes the diagnosis difficult and delayed. However, proper diagnosis is very essential to arrive to crosscheck and come to the correct conclusion. The analysis usually involves blood test or biopsy of the small intestine. As a precaution, such people should remove all types of gluten from their diet.
- While purchasing any food materials from the grocery store, make sure to check the labels on the package, to ensure that it does not contain any gluten, even in the form of food thickener.
- While having food in restaurants or during any festive occasions, ensure that it taken does not contain any form of gluten.
- Keep yourself and your near ones well informed about the condition and the necessary precautions that one has to take.