The Celiac Disease, which implies a permanent gluten intolerance, is a condition that, if not diagnosed and treated promptly can lead to chronic malnutrition, osteoporosis and even cancer, said a specialist Wednesday.
“It is known as wheat allergy and affects digestion in those who suffer from it and allergies,” the doctor said at a press conference. Eduardo Cerda, specialist in Gastroenterology of the National Institute of Nutrition Salvador Zubirán From Mexico City.
The gluten, detailed the expert, crushes the intestinal villi that are essential for the absorption of the food that is ingested, with which they stop working and therefore the food is not assimilated and is evacuated with the feces.
It is because of this that the celiac they can present malnutrition, osteoporosis and even develop some type of cancer.
The expert said that the Celiac Disease It can affect various organs of the body, which generates many symptoms that can be confused with diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance and sensitivity to gluten.
Among these signs are the diarrhea, constipation, loss or weight gain, fatigue, swelling, abdominal pain and vomiting.
Miscarriages, broken bones and neurological problems may also occur.
According to Cerda, it is estimated that this condition affects just under 1% of the population in the world and, in Mexico, the figures are similar.
“We can think that there is little more than 810 thousand celiacs in Mexico, although most do not know, “he says.
Celiac disease can occur in anyone who has the genetic factor that predisposes to the disease and, in some cases, it is triggered by some environmental factor such as an intestinal infection, for example.
It is due to the confusion of symptoms that patients usually take up to 10 years to reach the correct diagnosis, which must be based on a biopsy and a blood sample of antibodies, since being an autoimmune disease, it is necessary to do so.
This is a disease that has no cure, so the only treatment option is a gluten-free diet, which patients must maintain throughout their lives.
“Feeding Gluten-free is the only treatment that guarantees optimal health to the celiacs “, affirmed the nutriologist Dulce Macías.
He explained that a celiac can only tolerate about 20 milligrams of gluten, so it has many restrictions on food.
“For example, a slice of bread contains 2 thousand milligrams of gluten, so patients should divide that slice into 100 pieces and eat only one of them, “said the expert.
He noted that for them products containing wheat, barley, rye and, in some cases, oats, are prohibited, so they must be very careful with what they put in their mouths.
However, he stressed that with a balanced diet, these patients can lead a normal life, since they can eat meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, rice, corn, milk and eggs in their natural and cooked states.
They can also consume all gluten-free certified products.
However, the specialist warned that currently in the market there are products with false certifications, and that, coupled with the lack of laws and regulations, leads to patients are at risk of consuming products containing gluten, which may put at risk his life.
Finally, Macías made a call to the patients so that, faced with the suspicion of suffering from this disease, they go to a gastroenterologist and if they are diagnosed, they look for a specialist nutritionist to start a gluten-free diet and preserve their health.