Gluten Allergy: What it is, How to Detect It and Its Effects on Health
Gluten allergy, also known as celiac disease, is an increasingly common condition that affects a significant number of people around the world. Although gluten has been an essential component of the human diet for millennia, in recent decades it has become a subject of concern due to its impact on the health of certain people.
In this article, we will explore in detail what gluten allergy is, how to detect it, and the effects it can have on your health. Through a deeper understanding of this condition, we seek to raise awareness of its implications and promote a better quality of life for those who suffer from it.
What is gluten allergy?
Gluten allergy is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the small intestine and is triggered by the consumption of gluten. Gluten is a protein found in various cereals such as wheat, barley, rye and their derivatives. In people with gluten allergy, ingesting this protein triggers an abnormal immune response that damages the intestinal villi.
Intestinal villi are small projections on the lining of the small intestine that allow proper absorption of nutrients. When these villi are damaged, the intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients is compromised, which can lead to a number of health problems.
Symptoms of gluten allergy‘s
The symptoms of gluten allergy can vary significantly between people and can manifest in both the gastrointestinal system and other areas of the body. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Abdominal pain and distension
- Unexplained weight loss
- Fatigue and weakness
- Irritability and mood swings
- Dermatitis herpetiformis (skin rashes)
It is important to note that symptoms can be subtle and vary over time, sometimes making early diagnosis of gluten allergy difficult.
How to detect gluten allergy
Detecting gluten allergy’s involves several steps, ranging from evaluating symptoms and medical history to specific testing. Below are the most common methods used to detect this condition:
- Evaluation of symptoms and medical history: The doctor will conduct a thorough interview to evaluate the symptoms present and any relevant medical history, including a family history of celiac disease.
- Serological tests: Blood tests are performed to detect specific antibodies related to gluten allergy, such as anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (anti-tTG) and anti-endomysial antibodies (EMA). The presence of these antibodies may indicate an immunological reaction to gluten.
- Intestinal biopsy: If the serological tests are positive, the next step is to perform a biopsy of the small intestine to evaluate damage to the intestinal villi. This is considered the reference test to confirm the diagnosis of gluten allergy’s.
It is essential that testing be performed by a healthcare professional with experience in gastrointestinal diseases and food allergies to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Health effects of gluten allergy
Untreated gluten allergy can have significant effects on a person’s overall health and well-being. Possible effects include:
- Nutrient malabsorption: Damage to intestinal villi prevents proper absorption of essential nutrients, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies and growth problems in children.
- Malnutrition: Prolonged malabsorption can result in malnutrition and weight loss, despite adequate food intake.
- Osteoporosis: Untreated gluten allergy’s can affect calcium absorption, increasing the risk of developing osteoporosis and bone problems.
- Long-term complications: Untreated gluten allergy has been associated with an increased risk of developing other autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes and thyroiditis.
Treatment and management of gluten allergy
The main treatment for gluten allergy is to follow a strict gluten-free diet. This is the only proven way to control symptoms and prevent further damage to the small intestine. By avoiding foods containing gluten, the intestinal villi have the opportunity to heal and restore proper nutrient absorption.
Following a gluten-free diet can be challenging at first, but there are more and more food options and resources available for people with gluten allergies. It is essential to read product labels carefully and avoid cross-contamination with gluten when preparing and serving food.
In addition to following a gluten-free diet, it is important for people with gluten allergies to receive regular medical care and monitor the condition of their intestinal villi with regular tests and examinations.
Gluten allergy is a condition that affects a significant portion of the population and can have negative health effects if not properly detected and treated. Understanding what gluten allergy is, how to detect it, and the effects it can have on health is essential to promoting a better quality of life for those who suffer from it.
If you suspect you may have a gluten allergy or are experiencing symptoms related to gluten consumption, it is essential to seek medical attention and obtain a proper diagnosis. With proper treatment and proper follow-up, people with gluten allergies can lead healthy, active lives, avoiding the complications associated with this condition.
Always remember to consult a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance and advice on any health issues you may face. The information provided in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you would like professional medical help for yourself or a loved one, you can contact us at Villa Alegría We have special diets to ensure the health and quality of life of our residents.