Miley Cyrus, Victoria Beckham and More Stars Who Struggle with Coeliac Disease
You know of coeliac disease, don’t you? It is an auto0immune disease that causes severe, and often life-threatening, inflammation in the small intestines caused by consuming gluten.
Over recent years, awareness about this serious condition has grown exponentially, mostly because of celebrities who are promoting the gluten-free diet and its health benefits.
Zooey Deschanel, Victoria Beckham, Chelsea Clinton, Miley Cyrus – what do they all have in common? They all recommend going gluten-free. New Girl actress, Deschanel, has coeliac disease, while Beckham claims that she’s just overly sensitive to gluten which is why she avoids it.
Clinton, on the other hand, has an allergy to the protein, whereas Cyrus is against gluten due to its association with certain illnesses and disorders. But these aren’t the only celebrities who are against gluten.
As research piles up against the harmful effects of this protein, the food industry is capitalizing on the trend to introduce a range of gluten-free edibles in the market. Here’s why gluten is so dangerous to people with intolerances or coeliac disease.
To further create awareness on coeliac disease, a week (dubbed Coeliac Awareness Week) in May every year is set to demystify the condition and guide affected individuals on how to avoid gluten in their diets.
Ann Perkins, an expert on the disease which she has unfortunately been diagnosed with, speaks to HELLO about how she knew gluten affected her health, the coeliac diagnosis, and how she keeps her diet gluten-free.
The food industry is the base of Perkins’ career, and it has her working with The Coeliac Association. Before she found out that she had the conditions, she has spent years with undiagnosed symptoms.
Whenever she’d go in to see the doctor, they wouldn’t understand her symptoms, which often got worse after she ate certain kinds of food, especially wheat-based foods. That is when she and her partner, Steve, figured out that she has some kind of intolerance to gluten.
They decided that they should keep wheat off her diet, and her symptoms wound down. Together with Steve, they began suspecting that she may be sensitive to gluten, and she went back to her doctor.
Perkins insisted that she be referred to a specialist, and she couldn’t have made a better decision. It was all thanks to this specialist that her coeliac disease diagnosis was confirmed.
The diagnosis of coeliac disease is quite difficult, and medical professionals give an average of thirteen years for an accurate diagnosis.
That’s an awfully long time, but they say it is necessary to avoid misdiagnosing it as irritable bowel syndrome or brushing it off as something brought on by overworking yourself.
Perkins says that in her case, the diagnosis may have taken well over twenty years since she seems to recall having these symptoms from a very young age.
According to Perkins, symptoms differ from one individual to another, but the most common ones include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, flatulence, weight loss, anemia, headaches, and tiredness.
Some individuals also complain of brain fog after eating gluten, Perkins says. Additionally, she advises that if there’s a history of the condition in your family, it is important to have yourself tested for it since coeliac disease sometimes manifests symptom-free for years before the condition gets serious.
For those sensitive to gluten, she says that they must have the necessary restaurant tips to maintain their diet. Where possible, you should call the restaurant ahead of time to verify whether they are able to cater to your needs.
Where you can’t do that, make it a habit to inform the waiter of your gluten-free requirement as soon as you arrive.
What about other comment foods that could trigger the symptoms? Grains like wheat, rye, and barley all contain gluten so any food that lacks these ingredients is naturally gluten-free.
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