Tuesday, March 3, 2009
The real problem with eating gluten.
If you have celiac disease, a severe intolerance to a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and contaminated oats, you can have more than an unpleasant reaction to these foods. You can experience malnutrition no matter how much you eat. Even more scary, you are at risk for a gastrointestinal cancer that can be fatal. A cousin of mine with celiac disease died from this cancer. There are a lot of doctors out there who don't seem to understand celiac disease. It takes an average of eleven years to get a diagnosis of celiac disease even though it is thought to be present in about 1-130 people in the US. In Italy, children are routinely screened for celiac disease. Not so in the US. If you have gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, stomach pain, nausea, weight loss be sure to ask your doctor to do some simple blood tests. Do this if there is a family history of celiac disease even if you don't have any symptoms. If he/she doesn't, find a new doctor. This condition makes so many people miserable and at risk. It can't be cured at this point but it is treatable with a gluten free diet. There is a lot of research out there looking for the actual cause and a treatment as well. Don't ignore your symptoms or risk. It is not worth it.