Human Biology 170
Professor Miriam Feldman
June 2, 2012
Gluten intolerance also known as gluten sensitive enteropathy and celiac sprue disease is a genetically linked disorder resulting from an immune reaction to gluten that can affect children and adults. Aretaeus of Cappadocia was the first to have detailed descriptions of the disease in his writings. He referred to patients with gluten intolerance as having “koiliakos”, which means “suffering of the bowels.” In 1856, Francis Adams translated this from Greek to English, giving it the current name “celiac” or “coeliac.” In 1952, pediatrician Willem Dicker discovered the link between the ingestion of wheat proteins to the cause of celiac disease. The protein gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats sets off an immune response that causes inflammation and damage to the inner lining of the small intestine which then affects the ability to absorb certain nutrients and leads to malnutrition. The decreased absorption of nutrients can cause vitamin deficiencies that deprive the bones, brain, peripheral nervous system, liver, and other organs of vital nourishment. Another form of gluten intolerance is known as non-celiac gluten intolerance which can cause the same symptoms as someone with celiac but they do not have the damage to the small intestine and their celiac test comes back negative. There are more than 300 symptoms of gluten intolerance that range from mild to severe and vary among different people. Some people with the disease will not experience any symptoms. Symptoms can include abdominal cramps, gas, bloating, iron deficiency anemia, bone and joint pain, diarrhea and foul-smelling/fatty stools, weakness, fatigue, mouth sores, nausea, red urine, skin rash (dermatitis herpetformis), vertigo, weight-loss, nerve damage (tingling in legs and feet), panic attacks, depression, infertility, and stunt growth in children. There are so many symptoms...
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