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Celiac disease: lifelong gluten sensitivity

Once you have a medical diagnosis, a number of other possible factors behind bloating symptoms can be ruled out and it is possible to determine whether your gluten sensitivity is of proven autoimmune origin.

Celiac disease: lifelong gluten sensitivity

If it is confirmed that celiac disease is behind your complaints, a lifelong, strictly gluten-free diet is necessary. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where gluten causes immune cells to attack the epithelial cells of the small intestine. Unfortunately, to the best of our knowledge, this disease cannot be cured. However, the good news is that it can be fully treated by changing the way you eat. With the right diet, the symptoms disappear, the patient feels well again, and complications can be avoided.

In the past, celiac disease was considered a childhood disease, but today we can say that it can occur at any age. Because there is a hereditary link, screening should also be performed in the family of a patient diagnosed with celiac disease.

Patients with celiac disease soon feel better on a gluten-free diet, and they are generally able to maintain the diet despite everyday difficulties. However, there are situations in life when the dieter temporarily wavers, or perhaps rebels against the restrictions. This might occur in adolescence, or simply at a big celebration where there is lots of non-gluten-free food. Because it is not typical for everyone to immediately experience more severe symptoms after consuming gluten, it can sometimes be easy to break away from your diet. This is not advisable, however, because unfortunately the immune system is still activated, and the wall of the small intestine will be damaged even in the absence of symptoms. This can lead to nutrient absorption problems and even anemia.

Today, there are many products that look and taste deceptively similar to gluten-containing foods. Whether it's bread, pizza, muesli or biscuits, with a little persistence and the help of a dietician, you can find foods you like and that are healthy at the same time!

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