There has been a recent surge in the availability of gluten-free products on the market today, thanks to increasing awareness of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. In fact, with one percent of the population having some form of celiac disease, the gluten-free industry is now worth over $2.6 billion. While companies are cashing in on this growing trend, many people struggling with the condition are trying to better understand what it means.
Keep reading to learn everything that you need to know about these conditions and what each one actually entails.
This is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack itself rather than the foreign substances that it was meant to protect against. A full 30% of the population carries the genes required for the development of celiac disease, but only a small percentage will ever actually develop the condition in full. Celiac disease has been shown to have some genetic predisposition, meaning that it can run in families.
When this condition is present, the body is unable to digest the gluten that is found in barley, wheat, and rye. Attempting to do so will result in inflammation of the small intestine, which is the autoimmune response produced by the body. When untreated, it can lead to anemia, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, infertility, and other conditions.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a far more common issue than the aforementioned disease, although it is also more controversial at the current time. This sensitivity could present itself at any point, even when there is no presence of celiac disease. The condition is still undergoing research, of course, and no one knows how common it is or who will go on to develop celiac disease from this sensitivity, if anyone.
There is also no test available for this condition, and it is simply diagnosed for those who present with celiac symptoms, but tests come back negative.
Both conditions related to gluten sensitivity present similarly. People will experience symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas, and even fatigue and lethargy. When gluten is removed from the diet, the symptoms will subside. If foods containing gluten are reintroduced, it is highly likely that the symptoms will return, as well.
These conditions can be difficult to deal with because of the extreme dietary restrictions. However, when they are handled properly, they can be manageable and result in a minimal disruption in your daily life.