A significant percentage of the world’s population suffers from gluten intolerance and in some cases can suffer more severely from celiac or coeliac disease. Celiac suffers from a genetic disorder that causes them to be allergic to a protein contained in gluten. This allergic reaction causes inflammation in the small intestine, where most of the digestive processes occur. The surface of the lining of the small intestine are made of a type of tissue called villi which become blunted due to the inflammation and fail to absorb fats and carbohydrates in the food passing through the small intestine. The inability to absorb fats and carbohydrates leads to weight loss, tiredness and loss of energy.
Symptoms of celiac disease can also include severe diarrhea, pains in the stomach and as previously stated, severe weight loss. Also common are symptoms such as anemia, loss of teeth and early reduction in bone tissue mass. In the past, patients suffering from these symptoms would more than likely have been incorrectly diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome or something else other than celiac disease. One medical specialist employed at the University of Chicago Medical Centre suggest that there as many as 256 symptoms related to celiac disease, which is the reason why the disease is often misdiagnosed. Screening of patients with other associated medical conditions such as diabetes and thyroiditis helps with the correct diagnosis
The incidence of coeliac disease is on the increase, according to a 2009 study conducted by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The results of this study have found that the number of patients suffering from coeliac disease has increased by four times that number since 1950. The actual incidence of celiac disease may never truly be known as researchers have indicated in their studies that anything from 1 in 1750 of the population suffer from the disease to an alarming 1 in 105 world wide, depending on the methodology they used in their studies. This means that about 0.7 percent of the population in the US have been diagnosed as suffering from celiac disease. More worryingly, the vast majority of the population has never even been tested for the disease. Those that are tested find that their results indicate that they are classed as NCGS or non-Celiac gluten sensitive. Patients with NCGS can suffer symptoms as severe to, or similar to, celiac disease.
Some doctors have suggested this increase in incidence is only because the medical profession now knows what to look for and can correctly diagnosis for the condition. Other doctors believe that the incidence has increased because of the way wheat is now grown and processed. Additionally, manufacturers of processed foods and some medications are now including gluten in their ingredients. Whatever the reason for the increase in celiac disease, millions of people now suffer from this condition and the only effective treatment for it is to avoid foods containing gluten. This is a life long treatment. There are no short cuts.
There are many good alternative grains and cereal foods that you can eat. Cereals containing amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, corn, rice, millet, sorghum, soy and tapioca are all gluten free. Read the labels carefully, though, as some processed foods may contain cereals containing gluten. It is important to get tested for celiac disease. See your doctor and he’ll probably refer you to a specialist. Talk to people who suffer from celiac disease who will give you plenty of useful information they have gained by past experience.