What Causes Gluten Intolerance And How Can You Recognize It
Mostly hereditary factors lead to gluten intolerance. However, intolerance can also be caused by a weakened immune system, infections or diet. There are many different forms of intolerance, which differ according to their severity. There is wheat allergy, gluten sensitivity and coeliac disease. Although these terms are often used as synonyms, there are great differences between them, such as different symptoms and their intensity.
What are these symptoms now? They range from diarrhoea to headaches but they also include aching limbs or muscles. If you repeatedly feel flatulence or discomfort after eating gluten-containing foods, you may well be affected by an intolerance. But before you start to worry too much, we recommend that you consult a specialist. He or she can carry out tests, make a diagnosis and discuss treatment options and a possible change in diet with you.
Do I Have Celiac Disease Or Gluten Sensitivity
Gastroenterology in Melrose and Wakefield, MA
Patients often ask, Whats the deal about celiac disease? How is it different from gluten sensitivity? What is gluten, anyway?
Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity have several similarities, but there also is a big difference.
While both conditions can have unpleasant symptoms, celiac disease can cause diarrhea, malnutrition, and vitamin deficiency if left untreated.
Coeliac Disease Vs Gluten Sensitivity: Whats The Difference
Gluten sensitivity and Coeliac Disease are conditions that are a result of gluten consumption. While they are very similar, it is important to differentiate between the two in order to treat them effectively. Recent studies have shown that 97% of consumers from all age groups show symptoms of gluten sensitivity which are currently undiagnosed .
Do you suffer from uncomfortable short-term bloating and stomach pain after eating gluten? Then keep reading for our primer on the difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity and how to get tested.
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Complications Related To Diet
Carefully following a gluten free diet is very important for good management of coeliac disease. Long-term complications can occur when a gluten free diet is not followed. These include:
- increased risk of bowel lymphoma
- chronic ill health
The risk of these complications is the same as the rest of the population when a gluten free diet is followed.
Knowing The Difference Between The Two
If you experience any symptoms after consuming gluten, it is most likely that you have some kind of adverse reaction to gluten. Unfortunately, identifying the exact condition you have may not be easy. The first step in diagnosing your problem is to have a blood test run. Make sure you are still consuming gluten during these tests and only go gluten free after receiving a proper diagnosis.
A blood test cant give a diagnosis of celiac disease, but it can reveal the presence of certain antibodies which would show an autoimmune or allergic reaction to gluten. If your blood test comes back positive for these antibodies, your doctor may recommend an endoscopy to check the small intestine for damage, which would confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease while a healthy small intestine would suggest gluten intolerance or another kind of gluten related issue.
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What Is Gluten Intolerance
Also known as Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity , gluten intolerance characteristically causes signs and symptoms similar to that of celiac disease, without having an underlying celiac disease or wheat allergy. Researchers still trying to find a clear-cut etiology for this condition.
Patients will usually experience symptoms like mental fatigue , physical fatigue, bloated feeling in the abdomen and headache.
Gluten intolerance is a diagnosis made by exclusion of other conditions like celiac disease and allergies to wheat in patients who are developing signs and symptoms following meals with Gluten. However, since there is no exact test to confirm the diagnosis, most physicians will advise patients to maintain a Food and Symptom journal in relation to every meal they consume, so that a confirmed etiology of Gluten-diet could be revealed.
After the confirmation of the above feature, a gluten-free diet will be initiated which will have to be continued throughout the life.
What Is Gluten Actually
Gluten is a natural protein that occurs mainly in wheat and other cereals. That is why gluten is found in many foods that contain some form of cereal and there are many of them. Cereals containing gluten include wheat, rye, spelt and barley.
Gluten is found so frequently in a wide variety of foods because it offers many beneficial physiological and technological properties. For example, gluten is responsible for flour and water combining to form a sticky dough. This is why gluten is also called gluten protein.
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Action Steps: Tips For Avoiding Gluten
If you are making the commitment to avoid gluten and truly doing it for all the right reasons, you should get serious about it. You want to really focus on what it means to avoid gluten altogether. This is going to be an adjustment like anything else, but you can do it if you are truly committed. If you make this your mission you can adapt to gluten-free eating in a couple of weeks and hopefully get some relief from your challenging symptoms.
In order to make this your new way of life, here are a few tips to help you in avoiding gluten moving forward.
Gluten-free diets may be all the rage, but you know if its truly right for you. If you focus on doing it for the right reasons then you can get something out of it. If you are trying to manage your symptoms then this may be the diet for you. Understand if you truly have Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance or insensitivity and this comes from an appointment with your doctor.
What Is Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an auto-immune disorder which is triggered by consuming Gluten, a protein present in cereals like wheat and barley. As far as the pathophysiology of this disease is concerned, the gluten damages the gut lining and its villi, resulting in poor digestion and malabsorption of nutrients over time.
The majority of the individuals diagnosed with this condition have a positive family history this supports the fact that celiac disease has a genetic predisposition. Furthermore, this can be triggered by stress, viral infections and environmental factors it can also trigger during pregnancy or following surgery.Individuals with underlying autoimmune thyroid diseases and Sjogrens syndrome are also at a high risk.
Patients with Celiac disease will mainly experience signs and symptoms related to the gastrointestinal system, but there can also be extra-intestinal features.
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What Is The Difference Between Celiac Disease And Gluten Intolerance
Its hard to understand the differences between celiac disease and gluten intolerance because of their similarities. These similarities also make it hard to know which condition you have unless you are tested. Meaning, you cant self-diagnose yourself with either.
The key differences between the two? Celiac disease always involves an autoimmune reaction. It always involves damage in the small intestine. Lastly, celiac disease is always lifelong. There is no cure for celiac and there is no growing out of it.
Diagnosis Of Gluten Sensitivity
There is no validated test to diagnose GS. Some online labs offer blood, saliva, or stool tests for gluten sensitivity, but they are invalidated and not recommended.
It is impossible to develop a test when the mechanism of gluten sensitivity has not been determined. Diagnosis is made by ruling out CD and wheat allergy while the patient is on a gluten-containing diet. Once both are ruled out, a gluten elimination diet is prescribed. If symptoms improve, the patient is deemed to have gluten sensitivity. Using a response to initiation of a gluten-free diet as a prognostic indicator will give inaccurate results, as both celiac and GS can have similar responses to a gluten-free diet.
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When Should I See My Doctor
It is very important to be properly diagnosed with coeliac disease by a doctor because it is a serious medical condition that affects people for their whole life.
If you think you may have coeliac disease don’t stop eating foods that contain gluten until after you have been diagnosed as stopping gluten means the tests are unreliable. If you have started a gluten free diet then you will need to resume a normal diet for at least 6 weeks before you are tested. You will also need to eat a minimum of 4 slices of wheat-based bread for adults, and 2 slices for children, every day during this time. This is called a gluten challenge and will help to make sure your test results are reliable.
What Is A Wheat Allergy
Gluten is just one of the hundreds of proteins found in wheat. A wheat allergy is an immune reaction to any of those proteins. When someone who has a wheat allergy consumes wheat, a certain group of white blood cells called B-cells begins to produce immunoglobulin E antibodies which attack the wheat molecules as if they were foreign invaders. While this is happening, other tissues in the body send out chemical messengers that alert the rest of the body to the presence of a threat. The speed with which this reaction occurs can range from a few minutes to a few hours after consumption and may be accompanied by a variety of symptoms including nausea, itching, abdominal pain, swollen lips or tongue, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.
A person who is allergic to wheat must avoid all forms of wheat this is the only known treatment available for wheat allergies at this time. They may, however, be able to consume gluten from non-wheat sources such as barley or rye. It is entirely possible for someone to have a wheat allergy as well as celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, so additional testing may be warranted if youve been diagnosed with a wheat allergy. Wheat is one of the 8 most common food allergies in the United States and, while children can sometimes grow out of it, wheat allergies that develop in adulthood are typically permanent.
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Symptoms Of Gluten Intolerance
Some symptoms that you might experience if you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity are:
- Mental fatigue
Some not-so-common signs of gluten sensitivity are:
- Severe stomach pain
- Joint and muscle pain
- Confusion and disorientation
There are several autoimmune disorders that are linked to gluten sensitivity, including thyroid disease and Raynaudâs Phenomenon, so itâs important to understand your symptoms to help your doctor better diagnose you. On top of establishing what the blood tests say, itâs important to monitor your own eating habits to make better decisions for your health down the line.
Those with gluten intolerance can find comfort in using different supplements of digestive enzymes to help the symptoms or work on lowering the amount of gluten from their diet. Depending on the severity of your sensitivity, you might want to consider removing it altogether. Talk to your doctor about what the best option for you can be.
How To Find Out If You Have Coeliac Disease Or Gluten Sensitivity
If youre experiencing chronic, debilitating gastrointestinal symptoms, you should hightail it to a GI doctor. Many diseases of the gastrointestinal tract have similar symptoms, its difficult to say whether you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or something else entirely.
In fact, many celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity patients also experience irritable syndrome or other irritable bowel diseases at the same time. The rate of autoimmune diseases in celiac patients is also higher than in the general population.
Testing for celiac disease includes a blood test and an endoscopy to look for damage to the small intestine. An elimination diet for a minimum of two to three weeks can follow those to see if the absence of gluten in the diet helps. If symptoms do improve, some doctors offer a diagnosis of non-celiac gluten sensitivity or NCGS. Others are hesitant to diagnose gluten sensitivity because theres little research to confirm it and treatment available other than a change in diet.
If you find yourself struggling with gluten sensitivities or other food intolerances, alternative supplemental therapies like digestive enzymes and lifestyle and dietary changes can all contribute to improving your overall health While diet changes are essential, there are supplements you can take that can help improve your digestion of foods your body has trouble breaking down or absorbing naturally, like gluten and lactose.
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Research Into Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity
Non coeliac gluten sensitivity is a condition that is being recognised as a problem in many countries across the world. This is a new area and we need more research to understand the condition and who is at risk. There are no specific diagnostic tests for non coeliac gluten sensitivity.
Some researchers define non coeliac gluten sensitivity as an improvement in symptoms when following a gluten free diet. However, it is difficult to rule out the possibility of a placebo effect.
There is also some debate around whether gluten is the cause of the sensitivity or if other components are to blame. These components are also removed from the diet when gluten containing ingredients are removed, for example Fermentable Oligo- Di- Mono-saccharides and Polyols and other non gluten proteins found in wheat.
What Is The Difference Between The Conditions
Coeliac disease is a well defined, serious illness where the bodys immune system attacks itself when gluten is eaten. This causes damage to the lining of the gut and means that the body cannot properly absorb nutrients from food.
Coeliac disease is not a food allergy or intolerance, it is an autoimmune disease.
Wheat allergy is a reaction to proteins found in wheat, triggered by the immune system and usually occurs within seconds or minutes of eating.
Non coeliac gluten sensitivity is when symptoms similar to coeliac disease are experienced, but it is not clear how the immune system might be involved because no antibodies are produced, and there does not appear to be damage to the gut lining.
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