Gluten Allergy Symptoms
Gluten allergy is really a misnomer
Many people have gluten sensitivity or intolerance, which is not a true allergic reaction when there are no signs of elevated IgE antibody levels or little reaction on a skin prick test.
Symptoms of gluten sensitivity
- abdominal pain
- itchy rashes
Where gluten hides
Wheat, the most common gluten, is often a hidden ingredient of many foods such as bread crumbs, maltodextrin, bran, cereal extract, couscous, cracker meal, enriched flour, gluten, high-gluten flour, high-protein flour, seitan, semolina wheat, vital gluten, wheat bran, wheat germ, wheat gluten, wheat malt, wheat starch or whole wheat flour. Less obvious sources of wheat could be gelatinized starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, modified food starch, modified starch, natural flavoring, soy sauce, soy bean paste, hoisin sauce, starch, vegetable gum, specifically Beta-glucan, vegetable starch.
Allergy or Celiac?
People with wheat allergy who are gluten sensitive may also need to avoid related cereals, rye and barley, which have similar glutinous proteins. A small percentage of people with gluten sensitivity have Celiac disease, a serious condition that can cause deteriorating health if gluten is not eliminated from your diet. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, one out of 133 Americans has Celiac.
Testing for Celiac
You will have a blood test for the presence of certain antibodies, and if positive, it’s often followed up with a biopsy of the small intestine (minimally invasive surgery done through an endoscope). People with Celiac disease experience an immune response that causes damage to the small intestine, hampering how nutrients from food is absorbed. Symptoms of Celiac in children are short stature, vomiting, bloated abdomen and behavioral changes. In adults, the symptom list is long and includes bloating, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea or constipation, weight loss or weight gain, pale foul smelling stool, anemia, joint pain, depression or irritability and fatigue. See the Celiac Disease Foundation for a complete list of symptoms. Untreated Celiac can lead to anemia, osteoporosis, and other serious medical conditions.
Treatment is avoidance of gluten. Today it has become so much easier to find gluten-free foods and there are many good websites to guide consumers. Admittedly, going out to dinner is still difficult for people who are sensitive to gluten. Please refer to the Celiac’s foundation website for advice on dietary advice, how to read labels, lists of gluten free products, and how to eat in a restaurant safely.
Contact us today to get tested for gluten allergies.