Many Germans suffer from gluten intolerance
Many people suffer from gluten intolerance (celiac disease), which can lead to serious health problems when eating foods containing gluten. The only thing that helps those affected is to completely do without the appropriate foods, but many are not even aware of their illness, the experts warn as part of the current World Celiac Week.
Around one in 200 Germans cannot tolerate the gluten contained in cereals. Those affected cannot use the gluten properly and often suffer from significant digestive problems. In the long term, not only is there an inflammation of the intestinal mucosa, but also the development of osteoporosis or anemia. If you suspect gluten intolerance, a doctor should be consulted urgently.
Significant health impairments due to gluten intolerance As the experts of the German Celiac Society report during the current World Celiac Week (12th to 19th May), relatively many Germans suffer from gluten intolerance. After eating foods containing gluten, they show a kind of allergic reaction that can lead to significant health problems. The symptoms range from indigestion such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, stool, nausea and vomiting, severe inflammation of the intestinal mucosa to psychological complaints such as depression. For example, gluten is contained in wheat, barley, oats and rye. The expert of the German Celiac Society, Sofia Beisel, explained on the occasion of the World Celiac Week that gluten intolerance is often extremely difficult to diagnose due to the extremely variable symptoms. An early diagnosis and subsequent consequent abstinence from foods containing gluten is of great importance for those affected, in order to avoid more serious consequences of celiac disease. If gluten intolerance is left untreated, secondary diseases such as anemia (anemia) or osteoporosis are at risk. Celiac disease is also suspected of increasing the risk of lymphatic and colon cancer.
Gluten intolerance as a trigger of autoimmune diseases? To rule out more serious health risks, you should urgently consult a doctor if you are suspected of having gluten intolerance. Using a blood test, the doctor can determine possible signs of celiac disease and, if there is reasonable suspicion, carry out a biopsy (taking a tissue sample) of the small intestine to confirm the diagnosis. However, even after a confirmed diagnosis, there is no way to cure celiac disease. From now on, those affected have to practice doing without. You should follow a gluten-free diet "strictly and for life," said Sofia Beisel. This also applies to patients who have only mild complaints, since the symptoms can worsen with continued consumption of gluten. The “celiac disease is also strongly associated with other autoimmune diseases, with diabetes or certain thyroid diseases”, so that the gluten-free food may be used to promote it, said the expert.
Celiac disease is hereditary. As gluten intolerance can be inherited, affected parents should be particularly careful with their children, according to Sofia Beisel. The responsible doctors should be informed about the increased risk of the children and a test for celiac disease should be carried out as early as possible. Because around one in ten affected people pass on the gluten intolerance to their children, the expert explained. In general, it applies to children up to the fourth month that gluten should be better avoided, since "gluten is not particularly easy to digest for younger children," continued Beisel.
Gluten-free diet is the only form of therapy According to the expert, the recommended gluten-free diet can be followed without any major difficulties, since gluten is subject to labeling and the list of ingredients on the back of the food packaging clearly shows whether it contains gluten. On the other hand, the food manufacturers and many supermarket chains already offer special gluten-free products that are made with substitute ingredients such as millet, corn, rice, buckwheat or soy, according to the expert from the German Celiac Society. (fp)
Health: Hotline for food allergies
Image: Sigrid Rossmann / pixelio.de