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Celiac disease in adults

4 April 2014

Celiac Disease consists of an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and possibly oats. In these cases, a chronic inflammation of the small intestine with villous atrophy is caused (key alteration for the diagnostic), which are the symptoms of a bad nutrient absorption. We are born with the genetic predisposition to intolerance, but contact with gluten is necessary to develop the disease.

75% of cases are detected in adult women over 30 years old with unclear symptoms. Still, is believed to be an under diagnosed disease and up to 90% of adults who suffer are NOT diagnosed. Although celiac people born with genetic predisposition, a trigger such as childbirth or abdominal surgery is required.

Symptoms are not always digestive (diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and distension). The disease can affect the entire body and attack any organ (liver, pancreas, thyroid…). It can even cause infertility or psychiatric disorders. An adult with disproportionate abdominal distension, not relieved with classical measures, persistent itching, fatigue for no reason, are suspected of suffering the disease.

The diagnosis of the disease, other than medical, is serology tests (search for antibodies) and intestinal biopsy.  Once confirmed the disease, the only treatment is the ELIMINATION of gluten from the diet for life.

As the food industry uses wheat in the elaboration of many foods, LABELING with distinctive ‘GLUTEN FREE’, ‘SUITABLE FOR CELIACS’ is basic. Internationally, the symbol of the cross ear identifies foods without gluten.

celiacs logo

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