There is a huge fad component to the gluten-free movement.
However, many people genuinely cannot tolerate it, even without celiac disease.
The problem is they don't realize it and then live with the symptoms as though it's normal.
This article looks at the most common signs and symptoms of gluten intolerance.
Celiac Disease vs. Gluten Intolerance
First, it's important to understand the difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten.
Even tiny amounts of gluten will severely damage the small intestine of an individual with celiac disease.
A gluten intolerant individual can typically eat small amounts of gluten safely, but experiences health issues when their threshold is exceeded.
The following are common signs and symptoms of gluten intolerance, after celiac disease has been ruled out.
Summary: Gluten can physically damage the small intestine in those with celiac disease. A gluten intolerance or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, is a more subtle sensitivity diagnosed after exclusion of celiac disease.
1. You Have an Autoimmune Disease
An autoimmune disease is the term given when your immune system mistakenly attacks and damages your own tissue.
There are more than 80 types, characterized by which tissues or organs in the body are damaged.
Gluten intake is consistently linked with numerous types, but whether it's the cause remains to be seen. It's influence in Celiac disease is the obvious example, but research indicates gluten likely affects Hashimoto's hypothyroidism and Graves' disease, to name a few.
In any case, it seems gluten intolerance is more likely in those with an autoimmune condition.
2. You Have a Known Food Intolerance
Food intolerance (or food sensitivity) is said to affect up to 10 percent of people.
A reaction occurs when an individual's threshold to particular food chemicals or compounds is surpassed.
Anecdotal evidence indicates it is quite common for someone with a food intolerance to also be highly sensitive to gluten.
Note that those who don't tolerate gluten-containing foods (but don't have celiac disease) should also consider FODMAPs as a trigger for symptoms.
3. You Always Experience Abdominal Pain and Bloating
Abdominal bloating is characterized by tightness and/or swelling in your abdominal region.
It occurs because of excess gas or disturbances in the muscles involved with digestion.
In a study of 59 adults with suspected NCGS, abdominal pain and bloating were the top reported digestive symptoms (5).
It's thought that a buildup of gas is the main cause in those who are sensitive after a gluten rich meal.
4. You Have Diarrhea on Most Days
Diarrhea is a common digestive symptom of food intolerance and potentially gluten intolerance too (6).
It isn't just uncomfortable though, as long term diarrhea left untreated can lead to dehydration and even nutritional deficiencies (7).
5. You Often Experience Rashes and Itchy Skin
Skin conditions associated with intestinal diseases are becoming more frequent.
New research suggests that NCGS can cause skin lesions similar both to eczema and psoriasis, particularly on the elbows, back of hands and knees.
In a study of 17 patients, a gluten-free diet greatly improved symptoms after just one month (8).
Research is in its early stages though and it's unclear if gluten is a direct cause of these conditions or simply worsens them.
6. You Consistently Have Joint or Muscle Aches
Chronic joint or muscle pain is a common symptom reported in studies of non-celiac gluten sensitivity (9).
The pain is said to be like that of Fibromyalgia, a condition which may be improved by going gluten-free, at least anecdotally.
As joint and muscle pain is a broad symptom, only consider it a possible sign if you experience several of the other symptoms.
Do You Have Any Signs or Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance?
Remember that a gluten intolerance only affects a small percentage of people.
That means going gluten-free only has health benefits for a select few.
But you may be one of them if you frequently experience one or more of the above signs and symptoms.
Always speak with your doctor or dietitian first before making any major dietary changes.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Diet vs Disease.
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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