Last week, we reviewed a recent hot topic in the world of family and pediatric medicine — Discussing Gluten Sensitivity. This week, we will be addressing some of the top-asked questions regarding Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, and Wheat Allergies.
In regards to Celiac Disease Vs Wheat Allergies Vs Gluten Sensitivity, can these be developed over time?
Approximately 20% of patients who develop Celiac Disease are diagnosed after age 60. In our practice, we’ve seen patients who have developed the disease over time. While we’re still learning about Gluten Sensitivity, both Celiac Disease and Wheat Allergies can be developed and are not often conditions with which people are born.
If I think I have a problem with Gluten or could have Celiac Disease; should I transition to a Gluten Free diet now?
When the idea of going Gluten Free for gastrointestinal and digestive benefits is presented with a patient, we normally then test for Celiac Disease. Given current testing procedures, involving an endoscopy and sample analysis, in order to find the condition you must already have gluten in your diet. Many patients come in already having altered their diet, and must then go back and temporarily reintroduce Gluten to their diet in order to detect the disease. While the test is simple, it’s one that can affect the rest of your life. Some people find positive results with the Gluten Free diet prior to being diagnosed, and thusly refuse testing for Celiac Disease simply in faith of the positive outcome of their diet change. However, most are willing to going back to their previous diet to determine a definitive diagnosis.
While I don’t have Wheat Allergies or Celiac Disease, I’ve heard going Gluten Free will benefit my health overall. Is this true?
The benefits of having a Gluten Free Diet are still being explored. There is currently a study going on in Australia exploring the idea that Gluten Sensitivity might relate to the sugars in wheat, specifically fructans, which can cause problematic symptoms in those without Celiac Disease and Wheat Allergies. Meanwhile, as more information about Gluten Sensitivity becomes available, the food industry has taken to the term “Gluten Sensitivity” and increased the accessibility to products that fit this diet so as to profit from this surge in public interest. Some believe that simply living a gluten–free lifestyle will benefit their health, while this hasn’t been proven by a study.