Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and all foods that are made with these grains.
Celiac disease is a digestive disorder. When someone with celiac disease eats food containing gluten, their body reacts by damaging the small intestine. Uncomfortable symptoms such as abdominal pain often occur. The damage to the small intestine also interferes with the body's ability to make use of the nutrients in food.
About 1% of the total population has celiac disease. It is more common in people with type 1 diabetes. An estimated 10% of people with type 1 also have celiac.
The only way to manage celiac disease is to completely avoid all foods that have gluten. Following a gluten-free diet will prevent permanent damage to your body and will help you feel better.
There are also many people who are said to have a gluten intolerance. When these people eat foods that contain gluten, they also experience uncomfortable symptoms. However, they test negative for celiac disease and actual damage to their small intestine does not occur. More research about gluten intolerance is needed, but avoiding foods with gluten should help to relieve these symptoms.
Taking gluten out of your diet can be a difficult and frustrating change to make in your life, especially if you already feel limited by your diabetes. But there are many people who do it, and so can you!
Next: What Foods Have Gluten?
You can find resources and organizations that deal specifically with gluten-free issues by searching for "gluten-free" or "celiac disease" in your favorite search engine.
Last Reviewed: August 1, 2013
Last Edited: August 9, 2013
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