Wheat allergy, gluten intolerance, celiac disease — one and the same, right? Well, no, not really.
Although people sometimes use the terms interchangeably, a wheat allergy is an actual allergic reaction that can cause hives, itching, swelling and trouble breathing.
Celiac disease is a genetic intolerance to gluten that can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms and even malnutrition. One of a group of other autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease causes the body to form antibodies that attack body structures in the same way they would normally attack bacteria or viruses.
Gluten intolerance — sometimes called gluten allergy or non-celiac gluten sensitivity — is a condition in which the patient has symptoms similar to those of celiac disease but does not have intestinal damage or produce antibodies.
Gluten sensitivity can lead to celiac disease, according to David Winter, MD. Dr. Winter, the chief clinical officer, president and chairman of the board of Baylor Health Care’s HealthTexas Provider Network (HTPN), told dailyRx News, “A lot of folks have gluten allergy — a lot of folks think they have one but really don’t.”