Gluten-related disorders are a broad term to refer to all the problems that are triggered by eating foods that contain a protein called gluten. Gluten acts like a glue that holds food together and can be found in bread, pasta, and noodles. Everyone with a gluten-related disease or disorder has a reaction when they eat gluten, but the reason, type of reaction, and when symptoms appear are different from person to person.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune reaction to eating gluten.
If you have celiac disease, eating gluten causes your body’s immune system to attack the small intestine. This damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents the body from absorbing necessary nutrients. Over time, if celiac disease is not treated, it can lead to malnutrition, intestinal damage, and other serious health complications.
Celiac disease occurs in about 1% of the world’s population, but most people with the disease are undiagnosed. It can develop at any age – some people develop it as children and others as adults. Celiac disease is an underdiagnosed and under-treated condition that is associated with serious long-term complications, such as the development of osteoporosis, neurological disorders, gastric ulcers, and cancer (such as lymphoma) .It often runs in families: if someone in your family has celiac disease, talk to your healthcare professional to see if you should be tested too.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF CELIAC DISEASE
If you have celiac disease, it may take a long time for you to realize it, because the symptoms that people know (diarrhea, weight loss, bloating) are only part of it. Some people with celiac disease may have other non-digestive symptoms or sometimes no symptoms at all.
Symptoms in adults
More than half of adults with celiac disease have signs and symptoms that are not related to the digestive system, such as:
-Itchy rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
-Iron deficiency anemia
-Loss of bone density (osteoporosis)
-Damage to tooth enamel
-Headaches and fatigue
-Acid reflux and heartburn
-Lack of menstrual periods
-Infertility or abortion
Síntomas en niños
Infants and children often suffer from problems such as:
-Abdominal pain and bloating
Children may also experience other non-digestive symptoms, such as fatigue, irritability, behavioral problems, growth retardation, and puberty and developmental delay.
MOST COMMON TRIGGING FACTORS OF CELIAC DISEASE
Wheat is not the only cereal that contains gluten. There are others such as barley, bulgur, rye and seitan. And although oats are gluten-free, they are often processed in facilities that also produce gluten-containing cereals and can be contaminated, which is why many people with celiac disease avoid oats as well.
Gluten can be hidden in many foods; therefore, it is important that you read the label or ask questions before buying or eating a food.
Gluten can also be found in non-food items, such as lip balms and glosses, herbal or nutritional supplements, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements, and playdough.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) occurs when a person suffers from symptoms similar to those of celiac disease, but does not actually have celiac disease. NCGS is often defined by what it is not: it is not an allergic reaction, like a wheat allergy, nor is it an autoimmune reaction, like celiac disease.
Although people with NCGS do not have an autoimmune or allergic reaction, they will begin to experience symptoms after eating something that contains gluten or wheat proteins. Symptoms usually appear immediately after ingesting gluten and disappear when gluten is eliminated from the diet.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF GLUTEN SENSITIVITY
The symptoms of NCGS are similar to digestive problems derived from celiac disease or wheat allergy: diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating. But people with NCGS also often have non-digestive symptoms, such as:
- Mental confusion or «cloudy mind»
- Joint pain
- Numbness of arms or legs
Children with NCGS present with typical digestive symptoms, such as abdominal pain and chronic diarrhea, although fatigue is also a common complaint.