Celiac disease, a genetic food disorder, is a gluten based intolerance. It affects a wide range of people worldwide and is not caused by a lifestyle choice or an underlying illness.

Celiac disease is caused through the reaction of gliadin, a plant protein found in different types of wheat and crops, to the enzymes in the immune system. This in turn, leads to the cross reaction of the immune system and the small bowel tissue to create an inflammation. This shortens the villi which are responsible for the absorption of the nutrients that the body needs, which does not allow the body to get the nutrients it needs from gluten.

The key to discovering how to prevent any problems from food when a Celiac, is to ensure that you manage to eat the right foods. Foods which are high in gluten would be to name a few; bread, flour cookies, vinegar and pasta. All of these foods have an exceptionally high amount of gluten in them, well above what would be classed as the ‘safe’ level of gluten a celiac can have in their body.

Each of these food items, plus many others would cause the body to attack the gut in order to remove the excessive amount of gluten in the body. However, safe food items can include; butter, cheese, corn, eggs, milk, nuts, potatoes and many more. By eating these foods and trying to avoid foods which are rich in gluten, the body has time to recover and adapt to having a gluten free diet. As this is the only known method of preventing the symptoms of the disease, the diet has to be monitored strictly and regularly, ensuring that it is adhered to as much as possible.

Celiac disease can cause a lot of damage to the body. Severe celiac disease leads to the unmissable symptoms of pale, loose and greasy stool (steatorrhoea), and weight loss or failure to gain weight (in young children). People with less severe celiac disease may have symptoms that are a lot more subtle and occur in other organs rather than the bowel itself, making it a lot harder to diagnose. It is also possible to have celiac disease without any symptoms whatsoever.

Many adults with subtle disease only have fatigue or suffer from a low blood count, resulting in anaemia. The stool, is quite often accompanied which chronic cramping and a bloated feeling, caused by the gases in the abdominal area trying to remove the excess gluten. The body’s lack of nutrients such as carbohydrates or fats may result in noticeable weight loss. The only way to ascertain completely as to whether you are a celiac is to seek medical attention immediately, but due to the nature of the illness, it is sometimes quite difficult to diagnose.

If you are displaying any or all of these symptoms of celiac disease, it is recommended that you seek medical advice as immediately as possible. The sooner the problem is diagnosed, the sooner it can be fixed and can therefore help to make your way back to a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.