When it comes to a gluten allergy,
you’ll discover several misunderstandings online. Gluten is more pervasive in the American diet than most people understand and celiac disease has more serious long-term consequences than most people appreciate. In addition, few people are aware of the differences between wheat allergies, a gluten allergy and celiac sprue disease.
What Exactly Is A Gluten Allergy?
The umbrella term gluten allergy is often used to talk about three different medical conditions. These conditions include celiac disease, wheat allergies or non-celiac gluten sensitive (often abbreviated as NCGS).
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that is triggered by gluten consumption. This condition will be diagnosed by genetic testing, a blood serum panel or an intestinal wall biopsy. A biopsy is the most accurate and widely accepted test to diagnose celiac disease as the intestinal wall where the biopsy is taken is the target of the damaging immune response.
Wheat allergies manifest themselves more like classic allergies, such as hay fever. They do not represent an autoimmune disease, therefore they manifest differently from the symptoms of celiac sprue disease.
Non-celiac gluten sensitive is the expression used for people who test negative for celiac sprue disease but who still experience a potent and consequential reaction to eating foods with gluten in them.
Statistics show that around 1% of all people are afflicted with celiac sprue disease. About 2-5% suffer from wheat allergies. Another 10% are diagnosed as non-celiac gluten sensitive. So collectively nearly 15%, or nearly one in every six people, suffers from some type of gluten allergy.
Wheat Allergy Vs. Celiac Disease
A wheat allergic reaction includes symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, hives, a rash and swelling. The reaction is immediate and is considered a Type 1 Hypersensitivity.
Symptoms of celiac disease tend to be a bit different and sometimes take days or even weeks to present themselves. Celiac symptoms include stomach pain, intestinal cramping, diarrhea, constipation and weight gain or more commonly, weight loss. Some people have silent celiac symptoms or don’t experience symptoms at all (they are asymptomatic).
A recent study revealed that it takes more than five years for the average celiac patient to be diagnosed after they initially take their concern to their doctor. Because so many individuals endure health problems for far too long before receiving an accurate diagnosis, you ought to better understand these separate conditions and better appreciate when you should take your concern to a medical professional.
To help you better clarify the complexity of gluten and your health, visit this comprehensive and free web guide to gluten sensitivities:
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