May 21, 2012
STUTTGART (Deutsche Presse-Agentur) -- The children of parents suffering from gluten intolerance may inherit the condition. For this reason parents who are sufferers should monitor their children carefully, in the view of Sofia Beisel, a German expert on coeliac disease.
In general, infants should be given food containing gluten only after they are about four months old. "Gluten is not readily digested by babies younger than four months," Beisel said.
Parents suffering glucose intolerance should inform their doctors with a view to an early test of their baby. While coeliac disease affects only one in 200 people, this figure rises dramatically to 10 per cent of babies with a parent who has the condition.
Beisel notes that it is difficult to detect as a result of the diversity of symptoms. Digestive problems, constipation and diarrhoea are among the most common indicators.
Patients ignorant of the fact that they have the condition, or who disregard it, are inviting complications like anaemia or osteoporosis. The disease has to be diagnosed by means of a series of tests, starting with a blood test and progressing to a tissue test of the small intestine.
If the condition is diagnosed, the only effective approach is a strict gluten-free diet for life, according to Beisel. Even if the symptoms are weak and cause little discomfort, this diet should be adhered to, otherwise the symptoms could become worse.
"Coeliac disease is strongly linked to other auto-immune diseases, with diabetes or certain thyroid gland ailments, so that ignoring it could promote these other diseases," she said.
Avoiding gluten is no longer the nightmare it once was. In most countries, all packaged food has to indicate whether it contains gluten, and gluten-free products may be consumed by sufferers without concern. Many modern supermarkets now carry gluten-free ranges.
Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH