Celiac disease or gluten sensitive enteropathy (or grain intolerance) is an autoimmune disease triggered by foods and products made of wheat, rye, barley and oat. Reactions generated by these proteins (gluten) cause chronic inflammation of the small intestinal mucosa, leading to several serious health issues.
Test yourself or your child, if either of you have at least one of these symptoms:
- loss of appetite, bloating, flatulence, intermittent diarrhoea (may vary with constipation), weight loss
- weakened immune system
- menstrual disorders, fertility problems (miscarriages)
- fatigue, irritability
- pale and dry skin, rash, brittle nails, cracked corners of mouth, bleeding gums
- changes in teeth enamel and structure
- iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency
- joint pains and inflammation
Why is it important to know if you may have gluten intolerance?
People suffering from gluten intolerance react to products made from wheat, rye, barley and oats. Gluten is a protein causing irritation of the intestinal tract that in turn causes discomfort, abdominal pain and other problems associated with digestion. In case of a gluten intolerance, gluten produces shortening of the villi lining the small intestine and therefore causes a nutritional deficiency.
Typical symptoms of the celiac disease - chronic diarrhoea, weight loss and rapid loss of nutrients from the body.
Celiac disease may be manifested at any age, but it often occurs from the ages of 6 months to 2 years (in 58-77% of cases), and between 20 to 40 years of age. Undiagnosed prolonged illness of young children can cause serious digestive disorders, growth and developmental delay.
Celiac disease can develop later on in life. Approximately 25% of those diagnosed with celiac disease were diagnosed over 60 years of age. Gluten intolerance occurs in both men and women.