Diagnosing Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity

In a recent food allergy study it was shown that up to 20% of the population worldwide (although there are higher incidences in western countries) have some sort of gluten sensitivity. Of the most serious of these conditions is celiac disease which affects around 1 in 200 people.

However celiac disease is more than an allergy to gluten, it’s actually an autoimmune disorder. What this means is that anytime a person who consumes gluten (which is found in wheat, rye and barley) it will damage the small intestine and interfere with the normal absorption of nutrients.

In contrast, if you just have gluten sensitivity, you might feel similar symptoms and get pains in the gut, but it won’t be damaging you in any way.

This is why it’s important to get a proper diagnosis of your condition from a professional.

Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease

Firstly, it can be difficult to determine on your own whether you have this condition because many times similar symptoms appear for other digestive disorders.  And even if you do have the condition you might experience different symptoms (or even none at all).

But generally the most common symptoms include diarrhea and abdominal pain after eating a meal with gluten in it.  Depression and irritability, and even in some cases infertility.

How Do Doctor’s Test for It?

Your physician will test your body for antibodies to gluten.  Usually because it can be hereditary, your family members might get tested as well.

Doctors will take a biopsy of your intestines and also a blood test.

Often they will also ask you to go on an elimination diet where you eliminate certain foods from your diet and gradually introduce them back in one by one to see any changes in your body.

How to Live Gluten Free

Luckily we now live in a world where you can have just about anything you want and still live gluten free since there are so many great alternatives to gluten heavy products.  Perhaps you might want to make your own bread or cakes, such as with this simple gluten free bread recipe.

Or if you are not a cook, then many supermarkets and grocery stores now stock many great gluten free alternatives on their shelves from biscuits to donuts and more.

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Comments 3 comments

Daddy Paul profile image

Daddy Paul 6 years ago from Michigan

Good read. Live Gluten Free! My wife and I never have bread in the house. Rye is not too bad but wheat is heavy with gluten. I can tell you avoiding wheat is the smartest move you can make. When we do use flour it is corn, rice or rye.

Linda 6 years ago

Um, Daddy Paul - if you're eating rye I'm afraid you're not gluten free.

Wheat, rye and Barley all contain loads of gluten.

If you're happy with your diet, then you are probably not gluten-intolerant, but please read up on your facts and rather say you are "wheat-free" than "gluten-free" if you eat rye.

tasksgirl profile image

tasksgirl 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

I have also just gone gluten-free! I was just recently diagnosed with PCOS and I am hoping that it will help! I do seem to be feeling better already! ;)

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