Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Celiac Disease, Wheat Allergy or Gluten Intolerance

"So is celiac disease like a wheat allergy?"  Well yes, Jack shouldn't ingest wheat products, but no it's quite different.

American Celiac Disease Alliance:
"While celiac disease, wheat allergy, and gluten-intolerance may be treated with similar diets, they are not the same conditions. Due to the genetic component, and risk of nutritional deficiencies, other autoimmune diseases, and GI cancers, it is very important for a person to be properly diagnosed."

Here is a quick summary of the differences between the 3: 

Wheat Allergy:
  • One of the top 8 allergens
  • Can be DEADLY if one goes into Anaphylactic shock - where the body's blood pressure drops so low, that the body's cells do not get enough oxygen.
  • An EPI-PEN is carried in case of an allergic reaction happens. The EPI-PEN should be administered immediately to avoid an anaphylactic shock or further harm to one's body.
  • Eating wheat may include reactions on the skin, in the mouth, lungs and the GI tract
  • Symptoms may include: rash, wheezing, throat tightening, lip swelling, abdominal pain, and diarrhea
  • The branch of the immune system activated is different from the branch responsible for celiac disease

Gluten Intolerance:
  • Food intolerances are not thought to be immune mediated
  • Gassiness, Bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain may occur
  • These symptoms are usually transient and NOT thought to cause permanent damage

Celiac Disease:
  • Is an inherited disease 
  • An autoimmune condition triggered by "gluten" - a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.
  • 1 in 100 people are affected worldwide
  • Damage is done to the intestinal villi (small finger like projections in the small intestines)
  • Malabsorption can occur due to the damage - loss of essential vitamins, minerals, and calories.
  • Activates a part of the immune system that includes the white blood cell - T lymphocyte
  • People with celiac disease have a 2X greater risk of developing coronary artery disease, and a 4X greater risk of developing small bowel cancers.
  • A LIFELONG ADHERENCE is the ONLY TREATMENT for celiac disease at this time.

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