Some people have intolerance to gluten – the composite protein that may cause adverse reaction to the intestinal walls to people who are allergic to it. Gluten intolerance may affect any individual regardless of age. The symptom of gluten intolerance is discomfort and pain after intake of food with gluten. From simple symptom like mild irritation of the mucus membranes of the small intestines to severe illness in the gastrointestinal tract are the range of gluten allergy problem to an individual who is allergic to it. In the more severe cases celiac disease results from gluten intolerance that is neglected or untreated. Celiac disease occurs when the immune system acts on the lining of the small intestine and cause damages to its structures especially the villi (the tiny finger-like structure in the walls of the small intestine responsible to the absorption of food and nutrients into the body). When the villi are damaged, the ability of the body to absorb nourishment is impaired as the structures which are responsible for such functions are broken.
Signs of Gluten Allergy
The symptoms of gluten allergy vary in case by case basis, that is, every individual has idiosyncrasies to the allergic reaction to gluten. Most people who exhibit allergic reaction to gluten would experience symptom of allergy after immediately eating foods with gluten content while some would only show allergic reaction gradually after few hours. Gluten allergy is likened to that of wheat allergy experienced by adults, even though gluten allergy and wheat allergy are two different and distinct conditions. Wheat allergy is the body’s immune system reaction to the proteins found in wheat.
• Similar to common reaction of the human body to allergens, the symptoms of gluten allergy may be skin rash, dermatitis, hives, eczema, difficulty in breathing (like that of asthma attacks) and unusual swelling of the lips or the mouth area.
• In adults, the symptoms consist of ailments related to the gastrointestinal area or discomfort in bowel movement. Most patients would complain about a bloated abdomen, flatulence, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, constipation, and pain in the abdominal area almost immediately after intake of foods that contain gluten.
• After a considerable period of time, a patient with gluten intolerance may experience inability to absorb nutrients or malabsorption. Malabsorption may lead to deficiency of the human body to certain nutrients which are necessary to the proper growth and functioning of the body organs and/or cells. A noticeable effect of malabsorption is weight loss, stress and fatigue.
• Additional symptoms of gluten intolerance or allergy include headaches, irritabilit, ulcers in the mouth region, depression, joint pain and muscle cramps.
• When left untreated and neglected, gluten allergy may lead to serious and life-threatening health issues such as celiac disease, osteoporosis, anemia, and Crohn’s disease. Gluten allergy may also lead to cancer.