Do I Have Celiac Disease or Just a Food Allergy?

You may have heard about celiac disease, that is an allergic intolerance to food items containing gluten, a protein often found in wheat, barley, and rye. More and more, restaurants, grocery stores, and other food shopping centers are becoming sensitive to the fact that there are many sufferers of celiac disease, and thus are carrying more gluten-free items. Some stores may even have a dedicated gluten-free section.

Startlingly, across the nation approximately 83% of those who have celiac disease are misdiagnosed, or not diagnosed at all. Like most allergies, celiac disease cannot be cured, but prevention, treatment, and a change to one’s lifestyle and eating habits can vastly improve the quality of life for sufferers.

What does celiac disease do to the body?

When someone with celiac disease ingests gluten, the body responds by triggering an immune response. The villi of the small intestine come under attack and also prevents the individual from absorbing nutrients from food. Recent studies have shown, however, that there may even be some people who have what is called “non-celiac gluten sensitivity,” in that they did not actively have the disease, but still had a negative reaction to eating a diet that was rich with wheat.

This study found that there were certain carbohydrates called Fodmops, which are fermentable, poorly absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates.

These food items may be any of the following:

  • Lactose (found in dairy products)
  • Fructose (bananas, artichokes, beets, wheat)
  • Galactans (beans, soy beans, broccoli)
  • Fructose (apples, blueberries, honey, jams, high-fructose corn syrup)
  • Polyols (cherries, plums, apricots, avocados)

For those with celiac disease, our Atlanta allergists cannot stress enough the importance of a 100% gluten-free diet. However, if your allergy is related more to gastrointestinal distress from the consumption of Fodmops, then you may also want to consider removing these from your diet altogether. You can gradually reintroduce them if you do not notice any ill effects or symptoms, but keep in mind that it may take several weeks for you to see any significant changes.

We offer allergy testing—contact us!

The only way to know, without a doubt, whether or not you have celiac disease or a food allergy is to undergo a medical diagnosis. We at the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia have board-certified allergists on hand to provide you with caring advice, and we offer allergy testing at any of our seven locations throughout metropolitan Atlanta. Don’t spend another minute suffering from your allergy. It’s time to get down to the bottom of what’s causing your discomfort.

Schedule your appointment here or call (404) 907-2421. We walk-ins and same-day appointments.

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