Allergy or Celiac Disease?

By definition, an allergy is our body’s negative response to a substance that enters our body, most commonly through food intake or our respiratory system. One of the most common kinds of food allergy is wheat allergy.

Preventing celiac disease

Wheat allergy is often mixed up with celiac disease (also known as “gluten intolerance.”) Celiac disease is caused by an abnormal reaction of the immune system to gluten. Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats. Celiac disease damages the small intestine, causing long-term digestive problems and difficulty absorbing important nutrients.

Wheat allergy also stems from an immune response. It may include gluten proteins, but it can also be a reaction to other proteins found in wheat. It does not damage the intestine. Rather, it involves the release of histamine into the body that can cause allergic rhinitis, asthma, and headache.

Like celiac, wheat allergy can also cause tiredness and digestive problems. Both celiac and wheat allergy can also cause skin rashes but the rashes tend to be of differing natures. Celiac can cause dermatitis herpetiformis which is itchy and blistering. Wheat allergy does not generally lead to blisters but can cause eczema or hives.

Avoidance

Those that suffer from a wheat allergy should double check the packaging of food when grocery shopping or eating out. Note that wheat can be found in foods you may not suspect including some brands of lunch meat, salad dressing, ice cream, and hot dogs.

Those with celiac must specifically watch out for gluten which includes but is not limited to items that contain wheat. That means foods with barley, rye, and oats should be vetted carefully, too.

For further education, click here to learn about celiac disease or click here to read about wheat allergy. To explore food allergy treatment options through oral allergy drops, contact AllergyEasy.