Today’s blog will discuss the possible dangers of gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, oats and barley. It is a very common staple in the typical American diet and is frequently found in breads, bagels, rolls, pizza crust, pasta and most processed foods. Gluten allergies can cause celiac disease which is an autoimmune disease that leads to inflammation throughout the body. Celiac disease affects about 1 in 100 people in the United States. Many people are unaware they even have celiac disease or gluten insensitivity. Approximately 1/3 of the U.S. population has mild gluten sensitivity.
Gluten sensitivity has been linked to over 50 different diseases (osteoporosis, Irritable Bowel Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, cancer, anemia, fatigue, lupus, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, depression, autism). (published in the New England Journal of Medicine Jan 2002)
A study published in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with gluten sensitivity, diagnosed and undiagnosed celiac disease had a higher risk of death. This study followed close to 30,000 patients for over 30 years. People with celiac disease had a 39% increased risk of death. People with gluten sensitivity but no celiac disease had a 35% increased risk of death. The majority of the increased death risk was associated with heart disease deaths and cancer deaths.
Gluten sensitivity is definitely something to consider screening for especially in patients with chronic illnesses. Blood tests are available to diagnose gluten sensitivity. The only way to really know if you have a problem with gluten is to eliminate ALL gluten from your diet for about 2 to 4 weeks and see how you feel. You cannot have even one bite of bread. Visit www.celiac.com for a complete list of foods to eliminate. Then start eating gluten products again after several weeks and see how you feel.
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