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Does My Senior Loved One Have Gluten Intolerance?

By Nikhil Mehta, 9:00 am on

Gluten is a protein found in barley, rye, and wheat. People who develop gluten intolerance or sensitivity cannot consume the protein without experiencing an adverse reaction. The reaction begins in the intestines, which then inhibits the body from absorbing various nutrients. Palm Desert caregivers explain gluten intolerance and its symptoms to help families determine if their senior loved ones need to adopt a gluten-free diet.

Causes of Gluten Intolerance

Scientist Dr. Fasano from the University of Maryland classified the spectrum of gluten intolerance and tolerance with celiac disease on one end, no symptoms on the other end, and gluten sensitivity in the middle. Intolerances are caused by many different factors including various immune system reactions and non-immune reactions that are attributed to genetics or develop for unknown reasons. 

Gluten Intolerance Symptoms

Symptoms vary from one person to the next in terms of type and severity. Dr. Fasano explains that when antibodies leave the intestines, the body responds as if it is battling an infection. Seniors with gluten intolerance experience dozens of symptoms that may culminate in autoimmune disorders. The most common problems occur in the intestinal region where antibodies and chemicals congregate causing inflammation, swelling and irritation. These actions lead to bloating, constipation or diarrhea, pain and malnutrition, which causes excessive weight loss. Once the reaction spreads through the body, seniors may experience generalized fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and mental fog. 

Diagnosing Gluten Intolerance

Unlike laboratory tests that may reveal celiac disease, there are no diagnostic tests that conclusively indicate gluten intolerance. To rule out gluten intolerance, people can be tested for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Along with nutritional supplements, individuals are typically advised to totally eliminate all forms of gluten from their diet for two to four weeks. During this time, if intolerance exists, symptoms gradually diminish. If your loved one has trouble preparing his or her own meals, Palm Desert home care providers can help.

If your loved one does have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, he or she may need help coordinating a suitable meal plan. With help from Home Care Assistance, seniors will enjoy balanced, wholesome meals offered by knowledgeable caregivers. We help seniors stick to healthy diets and regular exercise in addition to providing comprehensive services like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and stroke care in Palm Desert. To learn more about Home Care Assistance of Palm Desert, call us at (760) 345-0001 today and schedule a free consultation.