What you need to know about Celiac Disease

What is celiac disease?

It is a permanent gluten intolerance that occurs in genetically predisposed individuals. It is characterized by an immune-based inflammatory reaction in the mucosa of the small intestine. This hinders the absorption of nutrients from food.

What are the symptoms?

The most frequent: loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, growth retardation, character changes (irritability, apathy, sadness) … Symptoms may be absent. Others may also appear such as rickets, spontaneous fractures, osteoporosis, dental enamel alterations, headache …

At what age does it appear?

Celiac disease can occur at any age throughout life.

What treatment to follow?

Strict gluten-free diet throughout life, based on natural foods: legumes, meats, fish, eggs, vegetables … It is not easy because wheat is the cereal most used in the manufacture of packaged products (70% of them contain it) . Gluten is used as an excipient for additives and flavorings, to preserve moisture, to prevent oxidation …

What is gluten?

It is a protein present in some cereals such as wheat, barley, rye, triticale (hybrid of wheat and rye) and, possibly, oats.

How is it diagnosed?

With a clinical examination and a blood test, the disease can be suspected. It is essential to perform an intestinal biopsy: remove a tissue sample from the small intestine to see if it is damaged or not.

What foods contain gluten?

Bread, flour, pasta, rolls … Sausages, cheeses, nuts or preserves can have gluten, either due to cross contamination or additives. Therefore, celiacs will buy with a list of items.

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