Celiac, Allergy, Intolerance?
Celiac, Wheat Allergy, Gluten Intolerance?
What’s the Difference?
Other very different conditions, such as gluten intolerance and wheat allergy, at times mimic Celiac Disease symptoms and are also treated with a gluten-free diet. However, these conditions are all quite different from Celiac Disease, and it is imported to accurately diagnose which condition is causing your distress.
An allergy to wheat is actually very different from Celiac Disease, in that it is not an autoimmune disorder at all, but the body's mistaken immune system response to a harmless food protein. The body creates antibodies to this protein that attach themselves to the food molecule and then cause other cells to attack by releasing histamines. The body may produce a variety of symptoms, often unique to the individual. These symptoms are often rapid and may be severe, ranging form a skin rash to gastrointestinal distress, swelling, migraines, or even difficulty breathing. Once the allergen is removed from the body or antihistamines are successfully administered, the body is not compromised in the long term as it is for those who have celiac disease and are exposed to gluten.
Gluten intolerance is another condition that requires adherence to a gluten-free diet but does not rise to the level of an autoimmune disease. Food intolerances occur when the body is incapable of metabolizing certain enzymes necessary to break down particular food components. Those with gluten intolerance often have the same overt symptoms as those with CD, but they test negative for celiac disease by blood work and endosopy. They learn through trial and error that gluten-free diet; live an otherwise normal healthy life.
As discussed, Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition, whereby the body's immune system attacks its own intestinal tissue in an inappropriate response to eating gluten. The damage caused by untreated Celiac Disease can lead to malabsorption of food, which in turn can cause nutritional deficiencies, anemia, rickets, kidney stones, osteomalacia, and osteoporosis. Unlike Celiac Disease, food intolerances and allergies do not typically cause severe intestinal damage and, therefore, do not generally lead to nutritional deficiencies.
As an autoimmune disorder, Celiac Disease necessarily involves the activation of the immune system. Autoimmune disease such as Celiac also increase the likelihood that the patient may contract other autoimmune conditions, such as lupus, thyroid disease, or joint liver disease, including rheumatoid arthritis. Celiac, as opposed to those who suffer from wheat allergy and intolerances, neither of which is an elevated risk of developing gastrointestinal cancer like lymphomas. By contrast, those who suffer from wheat allergy or gluten intolerance, neither of which is an immune system response, are not at any increased risk of developing an autoimmune condition or cancer as a result of their allergy or intolerance.
Thus, it is crucial to understand the root cause of your problems with gluten. If you have CD, your physician must monitor your nutritional deficiencies and look for any signs of other autoimmune diseases or gastrointestinal cancer, in particular. Celiac Disease is hereditary as well, so knowing whether or not you have the condition will instruct you and your family members as to whether they should be tested to protect their health.
Text Exerpt From;
The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten-Free: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed
Author: Jules E. Dowler Shepard
Foreward: Alessio Fasano, MD, Founder of the Center for Celiac Research at University of Maryland
Publisher: Da Capo Press http://www.perseusbooksgroup.com/dacapo/
Pub. Date: December 2008