Celiacs are people who are impatient with gluten. It is believed that around 1-2% of the population of Spain suffer from this disorder; although it is estimated that around 8 out of ten are undiagnosed. And it is very important to remember that this phenomenon can not only occur from childhood, but can also appear at any time in adult life.
That’s why Dr. Maria Orera, a geneticist in Health Diagnostics, a company belonging to the Quirónsalud group, asks that we be attentive to the sensations that may make us suspect celiac disease or food intolerance: “celiac disease symptoms are not specific, such as abdominal discomfort, feeling swollen, and changing the habit in the bowels.
But the matter does not stop there, because it highlights other common and non-gastrointestinal symptoms, such as chronic fatigue, anemia, or low bone density, which must also be taken into account. “They are not connected to the digestive system, which makes it a difficult problem to diagnose,” warns this doctor.
Remember also that children with celiac disease present slightly different symptoms from adults, such as: nausea and vomiting; prolonged flow; abdominal swelling; constipation; barrenness; abortion
“If the disease is not treated, nutrient absorption can be reduced, growth retardation, damage to tooth enamel, and weight loss. Since the most serious health effects occur in the long term, it is necessary to make a diagnosis as soon as possible, to avoid specific symptoms”, this expert notes.
What is celiac disease?
This happens because, as he explains, celiac disease is a syndrome of autoimmune origin and malabsorption, which is an intolerance to gluten (present in various grains, such as wheat, barley, or rye), and which causes damage. the mucous membrane of the intestines, from the intake of gluten.
This is said to occur in genetically arranged individuals with HLA-DQ2/DQ8 alleles. That is, if our relative is celiac, we should also be suspicious. “Its appearance can be caused by different factors such as cleanliness, genetics, or environmental factors,” explains Dr. Orera, who is saddened by the fact that although gluten intolerance is becoming more and more known, there are still many people who do not control it. they know exactly what it is.
“Some symptoms of celiac disease continue to be mistaken for raw foods, colitis, food allergies, or simply the side effects of eating too much. Knowing what this pathology consists of, can make sure that the symptoms are recognized in time for a specialist investigator to determine what is causing the discomfort,” he affirms.
The problem is that if celiac takes gluten, an immune response is triggered in the small intestine, which in the long term can cause numerous health problems: “This response is sustained over time by the loss of the structure that absorbs nutrients and cause anemia, weight loss or fatigue, as well as harmful effects in cardiovascular, neurological and psychiatric level, among others”.
Eliminate gluten in the diet, if diagnosed
But a person is completely discouraged by their own will to remove gluten from their diet because they think it will be healthier, because it won’t be. Gluten-free diets seem to increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, for example, and are contrary to our general diet because, for example, they involve a lower fiber intake, among other things to consider.
For this reason, according to the specialist Quirónsalud, the treatment of gluttony-free diet is the treatment to follow in these cases, because it allows only intolerant people to reduce or eliminate the symptoms and lead a normal life.
Fortunately, current understanding of the mechanisms of celiac disease makes it possible to mitigate or eliminate symptoms, as well as possible long-term health repercussions, by following a gluten-free diet. For this, the first knowledge of the people at risk is essential.
How do I know if I’m gluten intolerant?
When the patient is suspected of celiac disease, a blood test is performed, a celiac disease test to evaluate the clinical suspicion: -transglutaminase antibodies: AclgA) detect.
It is a simple technique that allows quick results. However, this geneticist advises that their sensitivity depends on tissue damage, so celiac patients with mild damage can test negative. “This does have the disadvantage that impatient people who are already on a gluten-restricting diet can achieve denial, even if they are affected,” he says.
Again, Dr. Orera talks about the availability of genetic tests because, since celiac disease is mediated by genetic factors, risk variants can be evaluated in the HLA-DQ genes, which are present in more than 99% of confirmed cases.
“The best tests for celiac disease are those that combine both approaches to obtain a comprehensive assessment, so that a negative result allows to rule out celiac disease with 99% certainty,” acknowledges this expert.
Quinetiam expert Quirónsalud concludes that the reliability of the analysis of laboratory results is of great importance, even more so when dealing with conditions that require long-term actions. “The most important thing is that today’s tests are an effective tool to guide the diagnosis and to optimize the patient’s well-being,” said Dr. Orera sat down.