There’s a lot of attention on gluten-free eating these days. If you’re confused about terms like gluten-intolerance, wheat allergy, and celiac disease, here are some basic details to help you distinguish between conditions.
Wheat allergy is an allergic response to proteins found in wheat. It often occurs just after eating wheat and can cause swelling or itching of the mouth and throat, hives, hay fever, wheezing, stomach cramps, and nausea.
Celiac disease is a hereditary autoimmune disorder characterized by an intolerance to gluten—a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, their immune system launches an attack that damages the lining of the small intestines so that nutrients can no longer be properly absorbed into the body.
Here’s an at-a-glance comparison of the two conditions:
|Definition||Immune response to wheat proteins (may include gluten)||Autoimmune disorder,|
|Treatment||Food allergy treatment using sublingual immunotherapy or avoidance of wheat products||Gluten-free lifestyle, strict diet|
If you suspect that you or someone close to you has wheat allergy or celiac disease, consult your physician about proper diagnosis and treatment.