Gluten intolerance, also known as celiac disease, is a widespread food intolerance that affects approximately 1 in 120 humans. While a person can develop gluten intolerance at any age, it is especially prevalent in two stages of life: when an infant is introduced to solid food, or between 30 and 40 years of age. Women are affected more frequently than men.
Gluten is a protein found in many foods. In some people, gluten triggers an immune response in the intestine that attempts to fight gluten as if it were a bacterial infection. 95% of gluten intolerance cases are caused by a hereditary trait in two specific genes that are involved in regulating the immune system. The body’s response to gluten usually leads to a chronic condition that causes damage to the small intestine and a variety of other symptoms including diarrhea, loss of appetite and weight loss. If untreated, it can eventually cause malnutrition, fatigue, and occasional vomiting. For infants and toddlers, these can cause growth disorders. Because the symptoms of gluten intolerance are so varied, it is difficult to diagnose and can go unrecognized for many years. At the same time, some people believe that they are intolerant to gluten when they are actually suffering from other conditions. A genetic test will help you and your doctor understand whether you are gluten-intolerant.
Gluten intolerance is often accompanied by other conditions, including type 1 diabetes, anemia, and osteoporosis. Other conditions, such as lactose intolerance, can develop. If a gluten-intolerant person continues to consume gluten over a period of years, it can cause serious damage to the intestine. In the worst case, untreated gluten intolerance can cause tumors in different parts of the body.
The mortality rate for untreated gluten intolerance is 12%. This risk can generally be eliminated with proper treatment and adjustment to the diet. Damage to intestinal villi prevents the body from absorbing essential nutrients, which can result in vitamin and mineral deficiency. For this reason, it is important that affected individuals adhere to a balanced, gluten-free diet and take necessary dietary supplements.
There is currently no cure for gluten intolerance and the treatment consists of a lifelong gluten-free diet. Proper treatment usually leads to the regeneration of the intestinal mucosa and the complete disappearance of symptoms. Affected individuals must familiarize themselves with the list of foods containing gluten, and also check ingredient lists on food packaging. In rare cases, when the affected person does not respond well to the diet, another medical treatment is possible. Even though gluten intolerance is fairly common, it is often misdiagnosed as a common digestive disorder because its symptoms are so variable. This gene test is a valuable tool for helping you to determine your risk for gluten intolerance. If you have elevated risk, you can adjust your diet accordingly to avoid further discomfort and prevent particularly harmful secondary conditions.Leave a reply