Why Does Gluten Need A Solution?
Did you know that up to an estimated 3,000,000 Americans suffer from wheat allergies, while up to 900,000 of those have a very severe intolerance to gluten, the sticky protein found in foods containing wheat, rye, barley and oats? People with a very severe, genetic intolerance to gluten have a condition known as Celiac Disease.
The problem is that most people who have Celiac Disease may not know it, since the symptoms often mask themselves as those of other conditions. In fact, the disease is so tricky to get a handle on, that physicians often misdiagnose Celiacs as having illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, chronic fatigue, anorexia, or malnutrition.
Misdiagnoses can leave a Celiac sufferer with continued distress and further damage to their bodies, so it is important for people who think they might have the disease to see their physician for an accurate diagnosis. People have a tendency to put their physician on a pedestal, but with something as elusive as Celiac Disease, many patients are required to take on the role of educating their physician about the illness.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is a sensitivity to gluten that leads to flattening of the villi of the small intestine. Villi are small, hair-like projections that are responsible for absorbing nutrients. People with Celiac Disease lose the efficiency of their villi, and consequently fail to digest all the nutrients they need. Further, for Celiacs, gluten acts as a poison which can cause many other problematic symptoms, including indigestion, diarrhea, lactose intolerance, irritability, weight loss, bone pain, osteoporosis, anemia, dental problems, severe fatigue, and others.
People with Celiac Disease who continue to eat gluten are also 20 to 30 times more likely to develop intestinal lymphoma, a type of cancer, roughly 40% are also allergic to soy and corn, and many Celiacs develop a highly irritating skin condition called Dermatitis Herpetiformis.
People who think they may have Celiac Disease should make an appointment with their family physician or gastroenterologist immediately. Most often a blood test can tell whether the particular antibody is present that is thought to confirm Celiac Disease. However, a more accurate confirmation of the disease entails undergoing a blood test, and then going on a 100% gluten-free diet for six weeks or so, and then to get blood tested again. If symptoms disappear in the complete absence of gluten, then Celiac Disease is the diagnosis.
Some physicians may also perform what is thought to be the most accurate form of diagnosis -- an intestinal endoscopy. This is where they insert a tube into your small intestine and perform a biopsy. Among other things, they will be examining the villi of your small intestine to see whether they have flattened out (mucosal atrophy). Although a more invasive procedure, the biopsy technique can be more accurate because it more concretely illustrates damage to the villi.
What Can I Eat?
People with Celiac Disease do not necessarily have to give up the foods that they truly enjoy. Many companies have spent years developing an assortment of gluten-free foods that taste just like food that contains gluten. Surprisingly, many of the foods are undetectable as gluten-free by people without Celiac Disease. And keep in mind, that because ingesting gluten prevents absorption of certain nutrients (especially Calcium, Vitamin B-12 and Folic Acid), Celiacs have been missing out on many of the essential nutrients found in many of their foods all along. So after a few weeks on the gluten-free diet, most people find that their energy levels increase and that they begin to "feel better" overall. Plus, most or all of their symptoms should vanish within a few weeks of eliminating gluten from their diet.
Gluten Solutions, Inc. was founded because we recognized the need to provide a diverse, reliable source of gluten-free foods to help people cure their illness and start living more energetic, healthful lives. We provide an extensive range of foods to replace the ones that must be removed from the diet of those with gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease. We also offer an in-house discussion group, free information on Celiac Disease, and outstanding books explaining how to cope with gluten intolerance, which also offer excellent recipes. With all of our products and services, Gluten Solutions aims to become your first choice for gluten-free living, so bookmark this site and check back regularly to see what new products we may have found.
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