Its origin is genetic, but at present only two genes are known to be involved, DQ2 and DQ8. If gluten intolerance is not diagnosed and the ingestion of this protein is avoided, it causes severe damage to the lining of the small intestine which, in turn, leads to poor absorption of nutrients in food – proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins – and, in the long term, could lead to more serious diseases such as diabetes or thyroiditis.
The Role of Heredity
It is known that if one parent has the disease, there is a 10-50% chance that the baby will develop it. This is why it is essential to correctly observe the symptoms in the child and to apply certain dietary rules to prevent their appearance. Celiac disease has always been diagnosed by its symptoms and by intestinal biopsies, very invasive tests. But for years now, it has been possible to diagnose it by looking for antibodies in blood samples, and the number of people affected has increased.
Contact the Experts
After the diagnosis of celiac disease, it is very important to know what type of intolerance we are facing and the associations offer a remarkable service. They exist all over the world and, faced with a diagnosis of celiac disease, their help is essential. These entities have a series of manuals and action guides.
They are also very useful at the beginning because they give you the keys to the process, which foods to buy, which not to buy, which brands are safe and where you can get them. This point, which seems so obvious, is very important because not only flours contain gluten, but also other foods such as ham, chocolate, sausages or pastries, since wheat flour is used as a thickener and in pasta. They also give you many clues to carry out a daily routine, what to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner… Families who are already experienced are the ones who can offer the best guidelines.
Not Getting Sick
Just as important as being informed is that the whole family should follow a gluten-free diet as much as possible, because otherwise the child affected by this intolerance may feel displaced and start rejecting the foods he or she should be taking. It is also important to remember that celiac disease is an intolerance and not a disease. The condition occurs when people with intolerance continue to include gluten in their diet. It is therefore important not to treat the intolerant person as a patient.
Additional Tips on Allergies
Avoiding the food in question is the basic measure that parents should apply in the event of a food allergy. Treatment of acute reactions with antihistamines, corticosteroids and adrenaline should always be done by a doctor. A diet without certain foods is not easy to follow, and can lead to social, economic and health problems. In addition to the crucial role of the pediatrician and/or allergist, several scientific reference entities advise the opinion of experts in human nutrition and dietetics, such as dieticians-nutritionists.
Experts suggest the following preventive measures that all parents of allergic children should take into account:
- Completely eliminate the allergen from your diet, both the food itself and the various products that may contain it as an ingredient. If in doubt, it is best not to eat it.
- Always read the ingredients of the foods that are going to be used in the preparation of the menu, staying close to the list of substances to which you are allergic to check the labels.
- Cook the allergic child’s food first to avoid contamination and contact.
- Handle utensils with care (it is best if they are reserved exclusively for the allergic child). Do not use the same oil or the same cooking plate for cooking. Clean all work surfaces thoroughly.
- Watch the masses, béchamel, broths for soups, breadcrumbs, etc.
- Provide the medical certificate to the school canteen (in case the child eats there) to avoid confusion and be well informed about the menu.
- Have the appropriate medication nearby, especially in the case of very severe allergies.
Apart from gluten, do you think your child is intolerant to another food? How do you handle it? Let us know in the comments below.