Gluten Allergy Symptoms
Gluten allergy symptoms are fairly common these days. Studies suggest that as many as 0.6% of all children and 0.9% of all adults experience symptoms of gluten allergy. Symptoms can vary widely from person to person and may be fairly severe in some cases and rather mild in other cases.
Gluten Allergy Symptoms
Symptoms of gluten allergy are similar to symptoms of any other allergy, like hay fever or an allergy to pets, and may include:
There are other symptoms that are sometimes believed to be caused by gluten allergy, but they are in fact more likely to be caused by gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Gluten intolerance is something different than gluten allergy, and celiac disease is something different yet again.
These other symptoms may include:
Diagnosing Gluten Allergy Symptoms
If you have symptoms of gluten allergy, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis. There are a number of tests that can be used to diagnose the problem. Sometimes doctors simply recommend an elimination diet in which you eliminate gluten from your diet and see if your symptoms go away. That is one way to find out if you might be allergic to gluten, but it doesn’t tell you if you have celiac disease. To find out if your symptoms might be caused by celiac disease instead of a gluten allergy, your doctor might order some blood tests. If the blood tests suggest you may have celiac disease, a biopsy of the small intestine should be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Treating Gluten Allergy Symptoms
The primary treatment for symptoms of gluten allergy is simply to reduce the amount of gluten in the diet or to eliminate gluten from the diet altogether. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. If you are allergic to gluten, it will cause symptoms of an allergic reaction as described above when you eat it. However, some people that are allergic to gluten are able to eat small amounts of gluten without experiencing symptoms. It’s similar to the way some people that are allergic to cats can’t keep one at home but can pet one briefly at a friend’s house without experiencing many symptoms. If you are allergic, reduce the amount of gluten in your diet as much as you need to in order to prevent symptoms.
Gluten Allergy Symptoms Versus Celiac Disease
People often speak of gluten allergy and celiac disease as if they are the same thing, but they are not. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. It’s not a food allergy. Symptoms of gluten allergy, on the other hand, are caused by a food allergy. When someone allergic to gluten eats something containing gluten, it causes a histamine reaction. White blood cells called basophils and mast cells overreact to Immunoglobulin E, causing the characteristic allergy symptoms like runny nose and watery eyes.
It’s important to understand that gluten allergy and celiac disease are not the same thing because the two conditions have very different impacts on the body. While a person with gluten allergy will experience unpleasant symptoms if he eats gluten, eating gluten will not do any harm. However, if a person with celiac disease eats gluten, it causes damage to the lining of the small intestine. For this reason, people with celiac disease should avoid eating gluten even if it does not cause symptoms that they wish to avoid. People with gluten allergy, on the other hand, may eat gluten as long as they are willing to live with the symptoms it causes.
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