Gluten: Sensitivity or Celiac
It seems like there is always some new sensation trending in the health world - kale or coconut anyone? You’ve probably heard the word “gluten” said more in the past years than you can count. At one time, only a few products were labeled “gluten-free” and now there are entire sections of the grocery stores dedicated to the cause.
It may seem hokey - or that everyone claims to have fallen victim to gluten - but the struggle is very real.
If you find yourself wondering whether or not gluten may be a true issue for you, there are some key ways to tell whether you are gluten sensitive or have celiac disease.
WHAT EXACTLY IS GLUTEN?
Gluten is a protein found in the grains wheat, barley and rye. This makes all typical forms of pasta, cereal, bread, crackers, etc., a living nightmare (and a real loss) to the carb lover with gluten issues.
Beyond the obvious, though, gluten is now used in many products you wouldn’t even think of like ice cream, chicken broth and cosmetics. #unnecessary.
Check all labels before purchasing food products. The ingredients may not list gluten, but may list their hosts. Time consuming, but worth it.
Gluten sensitivity is a relatively new phenomenon to the health world. Many professionals don’t agree on the cause - legitimacy or categorization of gluten sensitivity - or even what to call it! You may here the words “allergy,” “sensitivity,” or “intolerance” attached.
In fact, there is no true form of testing for this level of issue. Celiac should be ruled out first, as the severity of each are different.
As for treatment - a gluten free diet is the only available “cure” for the time being. Give yourself time. Weeks or even months of total elimination of gluten products are sometimes necessary to feel better.
Celiac is far from an allergy. It is, in fact, categorized as an autoimmune disease in which gluten consumption triggers an attack on the villi which lines the small intestine.
Left untreated, celiac can lead to malnutrition, causing anemia, vitamin deficiency and significant issues.
While symptoms of celiac disease vary widely amongst people, they can include:
Constipation OR diarrhea
Stomach pain AND/OR heartburn
Weight loss OR gain
Depression AND/OR anxiety
Headaches AND/OR migraines
If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your physician. Moreover, some people don’t experience a single noticeable symptom, but still have telling intestinal damage. It is important to visit your physician periodically to test such issues.