What is gluten allergy?
Gluten is found in the grass-like grains, and their products. A gluten allergy can be irritated when eating those grains or their products, but often also just from being around the plants. There are several specific allergies in a gluten allergy, all of which create different symptoms and are diagnosed specifically. There is a difference between a gluten allergy and wheat allergy, though wheat contains gluten as well.
Celiac Disease is often associated with a gluten allergy, but it’s a more severe type of allergy, in which your immune system reacts strongly to gluten. So there is a difference between a gluten intolerance, wheat allergy, and Celiac Disease. In order to find out which one you have, you have to go for allergy tests, which will determine what you have and how to deal with it.
How to recognize a gluten allergy?
Because of the difference between a gluten allergy, wheat allergy, and Celiac Disease, it’s important to get it diagnosed correctly in order to know how to treat it. Many of the symptoms are similar or identical in all three cases, so knowing which one is causing it can help with prevention.
The symptoms are many and can often be mistaken for other sicknesses or intolerance to something else. It’s important to note that 5-10% of adults may have a gluten allergy, which is more than most people recognize. If you’re having a lot of health problems, but don’t know what is causing it, or can’t get it diagnosed any other way, take the time to look into gluten allergies to see if that’s what the cause could be.
An allergy can come up at any time in a person’s life, not only as a child. You should be looking for gluten allergy symptoms in adults as well, especially if you’re suddenly faced with a lot of the symptoms. The symptoms associated with a gluten allergy range from stomach problems, ADD, fatigue, hair loss, joint pain, and much more. There are lists available with all possible symptoms, so a simple search can help you to narrow it down. There are other allergies, such as lactose intolerance which can also be aggravated by a gluten allergy.
One important thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t just go by the lists you find. The symptoms could be caused by something else entirely, and self-diagnosis is usually not the best way to determine an allergy. If you suspect that you or your child might have a gluten allergy, take the time to get the tests done, talk to a medical professional, and get a proper diagnosis. Deciding that you have or don’t have a gluten allergy on your own could mean that you’re missing something in the bigger picture and might have a different allergy or condition altogether.
How to Treat Gluten Allergies
A gluten allergy is just that, an allergy. That means that certain foods, products, or plants need to be avoided. It’s not easy with a gluten allergy.Grains are in much more than just bread, pasta, and other baked goods. Many grains are used to thicken sauces, bind products like vitamins, and as a starch in any number of products. Look out for products which are gluten free—again a search will help with lists, both those that are good and those to avoid.
If the allergy is caused by contact to the grains themselves, you’ll want to make sure you avoid that as much as you can. Before traveling to the country, make sure you won’t be staying or passing through areas heavy in grain production as that can irritate the allergy. Consider moving if you live in a rural area where grains are produced.
Many sites and doctors offer comprehensive lists to help you avoid gluten in your diet and once you get your allergy diagnosed, doctors will be there to help you to make the right decisions to change your life-style. Because gluten is used so much in many products, it’s not always easy to know what is good and what isn’t. You can’t simply cut out bread and wheat products; you have to pay close attention to the ingredients on anything you buy.
In some products, it will be mentioned on the label if the product is gluten-free, other times, you need to know what to look for in the ingredients. Getting a comprehensive list of what is an irritant will help when you’re shopping to know what to look for.
Corn flour, corn pasta, corn tacos, etc are an alternative to using wheat as corn doesn’t have gluten. Make sure the product is 100% corn, and you can still get a lot of products which are similar enough o wheat to enjoy your diet. Rice noodles and paper are also a good alternative; again, they must be 100% gluten free. Look for nut butters, such as peanut or almond butter—make sure they don’t use gluten products to thicken.
Living With a Gluten Allergy
Just because you suffer from a gluten allergy, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life, your diet, or have to take constant medication. Of course, finding out which allergy you have is important so that you know exactly what to avoid and what, if any, medication you need to take. It might be daunting when you find out you or your child needs a gluten-free diet, but once you get the ingredients right, it is just a matter of adjusting your diet and life-style to accommodate it.
One piece of good news is that often, an allergy will correct itself over time. Not all allergies are for life, and it could well be that your child will grow out of it, and even as an adult, you won’t have to suffer from a gluten allergy for the rest of your life. If you are careful to avoid the products which contain gluten, you can talk to your doctor about taking the allergy tests every few years to determine if your body has adjusted.
However, it is important to consult your physician and make sure you get proper treatment for your allergies and to prevent it from reappearing again.