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celiac disease
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Coeliac disease. How is it diagnosed and assessed? What are the primary symptoms? What are the known causes? What are the treatments? Are there any particular diets to eliminate coeliac disease? How long has coeliac disease been prevalent? Are there any recent scientific discoveries made through research?

Over the last twenty years, coeliac disease has become more frequent with an estimated 1 in 500 individuals affected by it. What is important to know is that coeliac disease damages the lining of the small intestine leading to the nutrients in food not being properly absorbed. Gluten protein found in wheat, rye, barley, bread, pasta, biscuits triggers what is known as food protein allergy. However, specialist diagnosis is required because the manifested symptoms of coeliac disease can be caused by several other conditions.

Since our blood circulation contains antibodies designed to identify and kill foreign substances as defence for the cellular system, gluten food proteins trigger abnormal antibodies to fight allergens. Some individuals suffer this reaction but most do not. That is why this is known as allergic reaction. One of the reasons coeliac disease is widespread is because gluten is one of the hidden ingredients in processed, canned and tinned foods.

When we chew our food, our saliva has digestive enzymes which change the food into bolus which passes into the stomach where it is churned and bathed in more digestive enzymes. At this stage the stomach is very acidic and the bolus is broken down into proteins to become chyme. From here, chyme passes into the small intestine where it is broken down by digestive enzymes from the pancreas organ to become nutrients utilised by the body as glucose sugar energy released into the bloodstream for fuel and repairing skin and cells or bile.

Following this, nutrients are transported into the liver where detoxification occurs and nutrients are redirected to other parts of the body, parasites are removed and the bile is reabsorbed back into the small intestine before recycling by the liver. Now the chyme moves from the small intestine to the large intestine. In here, are 500 different species of bacteria that digest the chyme to produce essential vitamins and minerals while also detoxifying the body. Our immune system is concentrated here. Here is where our white blood cells are grouped to either digest microbes and debris, attack parasites and allergens, release histamine.

Lymphocyte white blood cells originate in the bone marrow and are activated by the thymus gland to initiate immune system responses to kill microbes, viruses, foreign proteins. Allergies are reactions caused by gradual breakdown of the immune system where abnormal antibodies are produced in the blood due to the seepage of histamine through the small intestine walls. So, certain foods can't be digested as the intestine walls lack matching digestive enzymes.

Histamines flood into the bloodstream and skin leading to signs and symptoms of respiratory and digestive malfunctioning such as nausea, shallow breathing, coughing, wheezing, sneezing, palpitations, skin rash, skin inflammation, watering eyes, temperature, higher blood pressure, headaches and migraines, anaemia, recurrent diarrhoea, rapid loss of weight, joint pain.

Fortunately, the exclusion of gluten from the diet is entirely possible which permits the individual to recover completely. Only by introducing elimination diets can there be treatment of celiac disease by avoiding all presence of gluten. From the experiences of successful treatment programmes, there is a specific diet which is entirely gluten-free and will begin to repair the damage to the small intestine linings attributed to gluten.

Instead of wheat, barley, rye use potatoes during meal times as these do not have any traces of gluten and are considered to be highly nutritious. Avoid mueslis and energy bars wherever possible. By consuming natural yoghurt the friendly bacteria in probiotic yoghurt repairs and rebuilds the large intestine walls. Safe foods to consume include those with essential vitamins and minerals such as fresh fruit, green leaf vegetables, milk, cheese, chickpeas, tuna and salmon fish, poultry, oats, dried beans, sunflower seeds.

While participating in gluten-free diets, avoid any packaged or processed or fermented products such as beverages like chocolate drinks, milk shakes, malted milks, ginger beer, whiskey, cognac, rum, sherry, beer, ale. Always avoid consuming any brazil nuts, cashew nuts, pistachio nuts, walnuts which are abundant sources of gluten. Also gluten-rich are Indian sauces, mayonnaise, peanut butter and processed meats.

Coeliac disease can be clearly defined as the condition where the nutrient assimilation system in the liver chronically malfunctions. Our liver requires nutrients to detoxify foreign substances in consumed food paricles such as food chemical additives or preservatives.

Recent research has shown that coeliac disease is indeed genetic and that an individual is genetically predisposed from either or both of their parents. Diagnosing celiac disease requires specific tests to establish whether an individual fits the criteria for this condition lining is damaged.

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