Heard the words ‘gluten-free’ thrown around in restaurants, schools and mother’s groups, and wondering what it’s all about? Well you’ve come to the right place. In a society where gluten allergies are prevalent, it’s essential that everybody understands exactly what it means to have celiac disease – if your child has it, you need to identify it early. Here are some common questions we often get asked by curious shoppers and people who suspect they may have this allergy disorder.
What is it?
Celiac disease is an immune disorder that causes the small intestine to react negatively to the ingredient gluten. That means you are essentially allergic to all things that contain gluten – like wheat, barley and rye. It means that you can’t eat foods that contain gluten, and if you do, it can make you very sick.
Why does it occur?
It’s actually hereditary, which means if your parents carry the gene, you’re at risk of suffering from it yourself. And as it is an immune disorder, the immune system is the one responsible for the symptoms. The immune system sees gluten as something to be fought against like a virus, and attacks the intestine in the process. That’s actually what causes the symptoms of nausea, pain, etc.
What are the symptoms?
As with all diseases, there are a range of symptoms you can experience, but depending on your situation you may not get all of them. They include stomach pain and cramps, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and gas. If you’re experiencing any of them, it’s highly recommended you seek out a doctor so they can make the diagnosis and start treating you.
Can it be treated?
Unfortunately there is no cure, however, the symptoms can be completely eliminated if you follow a strict gluten-free diet. That means excluding anything with gluten from your meals or drinks, no matter how small the amount may be.
Will it negatively impact my life?
While some people find it hard to adjust to the strict diet, having celiac disease really won’t make a huge impact on your life. As long as you stop consuming gluten, the symptoms will be kept at bay and by learning about all the delicious foods and drinks available gluten free, you can still enjoy your meals!