Non-Coeliac Gluten Intolerance & Wheat Allergy

Non-Coeliac Gluten Intolerance

There are people out there who receive a genuine negative test result for coeliac disease and symptoms are still experienced, these people may be suffering from Non-Coeliac Gluten Intolerance.  As it shares many of the characteristics of coeliac disease such as bowel problems, depression and tiredness, it is possible that it can be misdiagnosed.  This intolerance to gluten is believed to affect about fifteen per cent of the world’s population, the majority being either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.  As there are no medical tests to confirm a diagnosis, the only definitive way to treat it is to follow a gluten free diet as a coeliac would do for a period of time and then reintroduce gluten into the diet.  If the symptoms then return after eating gluten, then the diagnosis of a non-coeliac gluten intolerance can be confirmed and in order to feel well a complete gluten free diet would need to be followed.

Wheat Allergy

Having a wheat allergy differs from having coeliac disease.  An allergic reaction to wheat will usually appear within minutes or hours after eating wheat or foods containing wheat, whereas coeliac disease the symptoms can differ and take longer to develop.

Symptoms of wheat allergy may include one or a combination of the following:

·         Difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing or a runny nose

·         Eczema, hives or other skin rashes

·         Itchy, red, swollen or watery eyes

·         Abdominal pain

·         Nausea, diarrhoea and/or vomiting

·         Swelling of the lips, tongue or face

·         A severe, systemic allergic reaction know as anaphylaxis which is a serious life threating condition which requires immediate medical treatment

The majority of gluten-free products are suitable for those with a wheat allergy although sometimes only the gluten is removed the manufacturing process.  Therefore it is always necessary to use caution and check labels carefully.

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