Gluten allergies are often incorrectly regarded as one and the same as wheat allergies; though there are similarities, gluten allergies are most often associated with celeriac disease – an autoimmune disorder – as opposed to an abnormal reaction by the body’s immune system towards wheat protein in particular.
However, gluten is present in wheat, barley, and rye; if gluten enters the small intestine of the body, an abnormal reaction occurs if the individual consuming the gluten possess celeriac disease. This aggressive reaction wears away at the inner lining of the small intestine, and causes severe abdominal cramping, nausea, and bloating.
Foods that generally contain gluten include pastas, breads (either wheat, barley, or rye), crackers, cereals, baked goods, beer, sauces, and granola. An individual may possess an intolerance to such food items without them specifically behaving as allergens for the body’s immune system; if you suspect this to be the case, approach an allergist or doctor at your earliest to determine whether you suffer from a wheat allergy, gluten allergy, gluten intolerance, or celeriac disease.
An allergist may typically carry out a number of blood tests or skin-prick tests, followed by an oral test. This oral examination would allow the doctor to place varying types and amounts of wheat into the mouth of the patient to determine whether the allergenic culprit is either wheat protein, or gluten.
Nearly 200,000 patients a year visit emergency rooms due to aggressive allergic reactions. As in the case of gluten allergies, a reaction may deteriorate an individual’s condition quite quickly, and allow the body to enter a state of anaphylactic shock if immediate medical attention is not proffered to the patient.
Signs and symptoms
The symptoms for a gluten allergy often present themselves as similarly as they would in the case of another food allergy. Symptoms include noticeable hives or rashes present on various parts of the body; nausea and vomiting; stomach cramps and abdominal pain; persistent headaches; lowered blood pressure; pale or cold skin; difficulty breathing; nasal congestion; a swollen or scratchy throat making gulping and swallowing difficult; or anaphylaxis (a potentially life-endangering condition which prevents an individual from breathing and places the body into a state of anaphylactic shock).
If you have previously been diagnosed with a gluten allergy, carry an epinephrine injection or dosage with you at all times. This provides adrenaline to the body in order to ease rapid heart rate and breathing, lower heightened blood pressure, and prevent the body from going into a state of anaphylactic shock.
If an individual is highly-sensitive to gluten, they may experience diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain or fatigue upon ingesting gluten. This sensitivity can be easily managed by eliminating gluten from one’s diet, and keeping a wary eye out for cross-contamination. The foods listed earlier (particularly wheat, barley, and rye) should be conscientiously avoided, and measures taken to purchase products after thorough research and reading beforehand.
DISCLAIMER: The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.