Grocery stores and restaurants have more and more gluten-free options available these days. But many people are not aware of the ways gluten can be harmful for some people, ranging from a mild intolerance to the more serious Celiac disease.
What is gluten?
When people think of gluten, they often think of breads, crackers, and other foods made with flour. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
People who cannot eat gluten can often eat foods made with flour from other sources like rice, almonds, and even coconut.
What is Celiac disease?
Celiac disease is an immune disorder. When someone with Celiac disease eats gluten, an immune response in the small intestine is triggered, causing damage to the small intestine. This can result in symptoms like:
People with Celiac disease are at a higher risk of developing intestinal cancer. Although there is no cure for Celiac disease, sticking to a gluten-free diet can diminish symptoms and complications associated with Celiac disease.
Lifestyle Changes for People with Celiac Disease
In order to live a healthy life with fewer symptoms, people with Celiac disease need to monitor their symptoms and diet and stay on top of regular check-ins with their doctor. A person with Celiac disease should:
- Remain on a strict, gluten-free diet
- Monitor symptoms and alert their doctor about any changes or worsening symptoms
- Receive annual tests, including vitamin, electrolyte, mineral, and lipid profiles, a complete blood count, celiac disease antibodies, and thyroid stimulating hormone tests.
Celiac disease can cause uncomfortable symptoms and lead to more serious health problems. While making the necessary lifestyle changes to keep symptoms under control can be difficult at first, it is important in order to prevent the condition from worsening.