Follow Gluten Free Diet?
Then Verify The Diagnosis
After you have been advised to maintain a gluten free diet from your doctor, your immediate concern is verifying your diagnosis.
There is three common conditions, all relating to the gluten protein, which require a gluten free diet. Therefore a complete diagnosis is vital so the proper precautionary measures can be set up to avoid possible future complications.
Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance or Wheat Allergy
, also known as celiac sprue
is the most severe of these conditions. With this condition a gluten free diet is mandatory. For the rest of your life
, cheating (on your diet) is not allowed.
Occasionally your doctor may mention this as gluten sensitive enteropathy (GSE) which includes both celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis (DH). Both of these conditions are a hereditary immune system disorder where the gluten protein leads to intestinal damage of the tissues. Where celiac involves the destruction of the lining of the small intestinal tract, DH also usually includes the intestinal damage plus a noticeable skin reaction which leads to red blistering lesions and itchy skin.
Celiac disease itself is a slow degenerative breakdown of small projectiles in your intestinal cavity known as villi. These villi are responsible for capturing and absorbing all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients which pass through your digestive system and then releasing this nourishment back into your system. Without villi, which are routinely destroyed by the gluten protein, your body is unable to absorb any nourishment from the foods you eat. All of the ingested nourishment is eventually excreted as waste by your system. Severe complications to your health is the final result of this condition because of the lack of nourishment your body has been able to retain.
Gluten intolerance also requires a gluten free diet. This condition, although not as severe as celiac disease, can be very uncomfortable. Common symptoms include:
- abdominal cramping
The origin of these symptoms is caused by the inability of your system to break down the gluten protein which is found in all wheat products. By adhering to a gluten free diet, a permanent reversal of symptoms can be expected.
Occasionally, with advanced testing by an allergist, it can be determined that it is not always necessary to totally eliminate all wheat products from your diet. This procedure is known as a diversified rotation diet. By following a scheduled program for a limited period of time, the allergist can actually show you some possible limitations to your diet, but often this does not include a complete avoidance of gluten.
The final condition, a wheat allergy, is the result of a malfunction in your immune system. All wheat products have a combination of four different proteins. These are:
Often, but not always, when gluten is your offending protein, the condition will be diagnosed as celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
If your diagnosis does come back as a wheat allergy to the gluten protein, this allergy will have the following characteristics.
The first time you ingest the protein your system produces a set of antibodies (known as IgE) because your system believes this protein is harmful.
The sole purpose of these antibodies is to neutralize this allergen (gluten). The next time you ingest any gluten, your system recognizes the "offending food" is back and releases a whole host of chemicals and histamines into your system believing it is for your own safety and protection.
This release of chemicals is what triggers a generous amount of uncomfortable symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, nausea and vomiting. In severe cases it can trigger a fatal condition known as anaphylactic shock. This requires immediate emergency medical care.
Therefore this condition also is dependent on avoidance of the gluten protein.
All three of these conditions do require a gluten free diet for maintenance but obviously these are not the same condition. At the first notice of any unusual and uncomfortable symptoms relating to the ingestion of any wheat products, schedule an appointment with your doctor for testing. It is necessary you verify which condition you do have.
Then, after diagnosis,shopping for your gluten free diet has just been made a lot easier to control so that you are making the correct food selections for your situation.
A gluten-free diet is easiest to follow by preparing foods from "scratch" in your own kitchen. Baked goods can be made using ingredients such as arrowroot, buckwheat, corn flour and corn meal, cornstarch, lentil flour, potato flour, rice flour (brown,seed and wild) bean flour, sorghum, and tapioca.
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This site is not intended to replace the advice and supervision of your professional medical treatment plan. Although all of the information is true and accurate to the best of our knowledge, we still recommend you carefully check all food labels before consuming any food product. We can not assume any legal responsibility for any illness obtained while following the advice contained on this site.