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What’s wrong with gluten? There’s nothing wrong with it—unless you happen to be one of the two million men and women in the U.S. who suffer from celiac disease.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. People who suffer from celiac disease are unable to eat gluten because it causes an inflammatory reaction in their small intestines. This inflammation can cause damage to the lining of the small intestine and prevent the body’s absorption of nutrients and vitamins. If left unchecked, this intestinal damage can cause weight loss, bloating and diarrhea. The body is then deprived of important nutrients, which can damage organs including the heart, bones, kidney and brain.
There is no cure for celiac disease but eliminating gluten from your diet can reduce symptoms and give your intestines an opportunity to heal. Signs and symptoms of celiac disease vary from patient to patient. They range from more typical symptoms like diarrhea, weight loss and bloating to essentially no symptoms at all. It’s important to discuss any of the following signs, symptoms or issues with your doctor because 70% of patients who have celiac disease go undiagnosed.
How do you know if you have celiac disease? David Labowitz, DO, MPH, Gastroenterology at NorthShore, shares some of the signs and symptoms of celiac disease:
Do you have celiac disease? If so, what were your symptoms? How difficult was it for you to remove gluten from your diet?