If you are allergic to gluten, you need to follow a gluten free diet. This article describes gluten intolerance symptoms and the necessary precautions that should be taken to prevent allergic reactions. Read on to know what gluten is and how it can affect your health.
What is gluten? Gluten is a type of storage protein, which belongs to the cereal family. It is naturally found in grains. It is made up of two proteins, glutenin and gliadin and it acts as a binding agent for them. It is commonly found in grass like grains, for example, rye, barley, spelt and wheat. We get gluten naturally through food or we get it when we consume low protein foods, available in market, wherein gluten is present as one of the food additives. It gives the food the desired texture and elasticity. But some people cannot tolerate and digest gluten.
It has to be noted that food allergy is different from gluten allergy. Gluten intolerance leads to gastrointestinal distress, damaging the small intestine. It is known as celiac disease and has no cure. It is classified into various distinct categories. These types may vary in their symptoms, as well as severity.
- Silent Celiac Disease: It is called silent celiac disease because there are no external symptoms, but it causes intestinal damage.
- Refractory Celiac Disease: Some doctors treat this as cancer. The patient may follow a gluten-free diet but the disorder cannot be cured.
- Latent Celiac Disease: This also does not show any symptoms externally, though it causes damage to the intestine.
- Collagenous Celiac Disease: This is a fatal disease characterized by diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Gluten Intolerance Symptoms
The gastrointestinal symptoms of gluten intolerance are the most common symptoms and they are as follows. The symptoms of may vary from person to person; as the damaged intestinal walls lead to restricted absorption of the food consumed.
- A patient is unable to digest any wheat products, barley, rye and oats. If any of these is present in the food; constipation, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, indigestion, nausea, flatulence, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, vomiting, fat excreted in stools are the symptoms that are usually noticed.
- Mouth ulcers, muscle cramps, a tingling sensation in legs, headache, depression and irritability, are some of the other common symptoms of this disorder.
- People who cannot digest gluten may suffer from skin allergies, dermatitis, eczema, skin hives, asthma or breathing difficulties while exercising, swelling around the mouth, etc.
- A general fatigue ultimately leading to chronic fatigue syndrome is a characteristic symptom of gluten intolerance.
- Some of the patients may note weight gain, while some may note weight loss.
- People suffering from this disorder may experience deteriorating dental health.
- Gluten intolerance symptoms in children include malnutrition and slow growth, attention and behavioral problems, poor appetite and foul-smelling stool, irritability, anemia and depression.
If the disorder is left untreated, it may lead into severe complications like osteoporosis, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, or even cancer.
After knowing the symptoms of ‘gluten intolerance’, you must have noted that it’s not the bread or pasta, but the grains, that are making you sick. You should eat the whole food products more, be it fruits and vegetables or fish and nuts. Though, avoiding grains is challenging, but following a gluten free diet plan is the only way to prevent the situation from worsening. You can definitely enjoy gluten free desserts, they are easily available in the market. With the help of a gluten-free food list, you can surely manage the disease.