Gluten Disorders Essentials (Day 2)

Welcome Gluten Disorder Essentials! Depending on what condition you have there are different sections below.

What's the difference between celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and a wheat allergy?
While the “treatment” of following a gluten-free diet is the same for all three conditions, they are a bit different. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease;  a person cannot digest gluten and the immune system responds by destroying the villi that line the small intestine. When a person with a wheat allergy digests wheat/gluten, symptoms include wheezing, lip swelling, stomach pains, gas, diarrhea or a rash, but there is no damage to the villi.  Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include gas, stomach pains, and diarrhea but there is no damage to the small intestine.

Celiac Disease

After today you'll know:

  • A basic overview of celiac disease
  • What the symptoms of CD are + Why you get them
  • Associated conditions and risks
  • How long it takes to heal
  • What to expect in the first few years after diagnosis

What is celiac disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. When gluten is ingested the immune responses with toxins that destroy the villi. Villi are tiny finger-like protrusions inside the small intestines. When the villi become damaged, the body is unable to absorb nutrients from food. This can lead to malnutrition and other serious health complications.

What is Dermatitis Herpetiformis?

Dermatitis Herpetiformis is a itchy, blistering rash, that is associated with celiac disease. Basically it's the skin form of celiac disease. It isn't known why some people with celiac disease get DH and some don't.

Only a small number of people with with DH have gastrointestinal symptoms (around 10%), however more then half have some sort of celiac like damage to the villi. A strict gluten free diet is the only treatment for DH.

What is Gluten Sensitivity?

Gluten sensitivity or intolerance is a condition that causes a person to react after ingesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

Symptoms vary widely and can include gastrointestinal problems, joint pain, fatigue and depression. The same symptoms are associated with celiac disease, so it’s important to get the correct diagnosis.

According to the experts, gluten sensitivity should only be diagnosed after first ruling out wheat allergies, celiac disease and gluten ataxia, using blood and other tests that can pinpoint those recognized disorders. Second, diagnosis should include testing for AGA antibodies in the blood, though these are not always present. Third, there should be improvement in symptoms on a gluten-free diet.

Though researchers are looking for biomarkers that would definitively diagnose gluten intolerance, they have not yet come up with a specific test. Still, gluten intolerance has been recognized as a real condition, after many years of being ignored by the medical community. In fact, gluten sensitivity has its own category in a list of gluten-related disorders recently created by a group of international celiac disease experts.