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Goodbye Gluten

Filed Under: Sexual Health at 9:18 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
BarleyTo the gluten-loving, celiac disease sounds like a diagnosis for deprivation. Just scanning the list of dangerous foods is enough to send us running for the refrigerator and clinging territorially to the gluten-filled products.  What do you mean I can’t have bread or cheese or beer or KETCHUP? I need those in my life. I would rather suffer years of discomfort than abandon everything good in my diet. You must be crazy if you think I would willingly accept the label of celiac. Yet millions of people do, and they do so with relief

Celiac disease is a genetic disorder characterized by gluten intolerance. When the protein enters the body, it damages facets of the small intestine necessary for nutrient absorption.  As a result, sufferers are likely to become malnourished and anemic. They generally experience symptoms similar to bowel disorders – cramping, gas, distention, bloating, diarrhea and constipation – and, thus, rarely diagnose the disease immediately.  In fact, many must wait an average of 11 years before the condition is properly identified. During that time the disorder may broaden to include osteoporosis, fatigue, infertility and depression. And since the symptoms’ cause is unknown, treatments will be ineffective. Therefore, it is no wonder that a newly-diagnosed celiac willingly embraces his altered lifestyle.

He purges his pantry of gluten, abandoning anything made with wheat, rye and barley, and purchases, instead, gluten-free products. The initial shift is theoretically traumatizing but actually quite easy, when it is realized that a spectrum of options are still available and that they will eliminate the ailments that have haunted him for years. What is more difficult is ensuring that his home remains gluten-free.  Utensils can no longer be shared. Butter plates, toasters and even counter space must be labeled as either gluten or gluten-free, and items which gluten clings to post-washing, such as wooden cutting boards, must be disposed of. However once this is complete, the segue into a celiac’s life is a transition of joy. Health returns and years of suffering become nothing but a distant memory.

One in every 100/150 people have celiac disease. If you think you or a loved one might, have your doctor run a simple blood test. The diagnosis could change your life.

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