Gluten allergies and sensitivity are recent medical buzzwords, but even as sales of "gluten-free" items climb, many people don't understand exactly what symptoms go along with this health problem.
"Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (durum, emmer, spelt, farina, farro, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale," according to the Celiac Disease Foundation
. "Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected."
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In recent years, allergies to gluten, or in some people a sensitivity to the proteins, have made the news as many people have diagnosed themselves or been told by medical practitioners that their bodies are reacting to gluten in a negative way. Forbes magazine called "gluten free"
one of the hottest medical trends in 2014.
Gluten allergies are different than celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease that is triggered by gliaden, a gluten protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, Medical News Today said
. Celiac disease must be diagnosed by a doctor, typically with a blood test as well as intestinal biopsies.
Symptoms of gluten allergies or sensitivity to this protein include typical signs of gastrointestinal upset, according to WebMD
3. Abdominal upset
4. Abdominal pain
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Although gluten sensitivity doesn't typically cause the inflammation found in the intestinal lining of patients with celiac disease, the symptoms can be equally as bad, Dr. Stephano Guandalini told WebMD. There is no test to check for gluten sensitivity, and doctors will look at symptoms to make a diagnosis.
In addition to typical GI symptoms, the Celiac Disease Foundation said, people with gluten allergies or sensitivity might experience:
7. "Foggy brain" – meaning they have problems thinking clearly
9. Bone or joint pain
Since the symptoms of celiac disease and gluten allergies are so closely related, the CDF said people with concerns should talk to their doctor and get tested to rule out celiac disease. It's important to do so before going on a gluten-free diet because once gluten is eliminated, it is difficult, if not impossible, to test for celiac disease, WebMD said.
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