Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are increasingly common. A gluten allergy test or Gluten Intolerance Test can help you to determine if you suffer from celiac disease, wheat allergy (which is not the same thing as gluten allergy) or another condition with similar symptoms.
A person who suffers from gluten allergy or celiac disease gets symptoms from any foods that contain gluten. Wheat allergy simply means intolerance to wheat, but not necessarily to other grains that contain gluten. Gluten is a protein (usually a mix of two different proteins) that is found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt. Some gluten-intolerant people are also allergic to oats. Flour made from these grains contains gluten and this protein is also added to many foods.
When to Ask for a Gluten Allergy Test
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease with a wide range of symptoms. The symptoms can be different in children and in adults but they always relate to intolerance to gluten. Children can suffer from irritability, poor appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, swelling in the stomach and an inability to gain weight. In adults, common symptoms include bloating and gas, constipation, diarrhea an
d weight loss. However, there are many more symptoms that can accompany celiac disease: anemia, extreme tiredness, mouth ulcers, depression, bone fractures (untreated celiac disease can lead to thinning of the bones and
eventually osteoporosis) and skin rashes that can itch and usually appear around the knees and the elbows.
To learn more about typical symptoms you can find a gluten allergy quiz online. However, the only way to determine if you are gluten-intolerant is a gluten intolerance test with a doctor. The purpose of a gluten allergy test is to exclude any other possible health problems that could cause these symptoms, and to find out if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Your doctor will perform a gluten allergy blood test to check for the amount of iron, calcium and folic acid in the blood, and to find antibodies that are typical to patients with celiac disease. The doctor can also examine the abdominal area and check for external symptoms, such as rashes or mouth ulcers.
What Happens After a Gluten Allergy Test?
If the gluten allergy test results are positive and you have celiac disease, it is important to eliminate all gluten from your diet. When you first start to look for gluten-free products, it can be surprising how many foods actually contain this protein. It is found in breads, cereals, pasta, cakes and biscuits, beer, certain soy sauce brands, many snacks, processed foods and ready meals. Many people with celiac disease cannot eat oats, especially as oats are sometimes processed in factories that also process wheat. It is also possible to be allergic to avenin, a protein that is present in oats and is very similar to gluten. It is often recommended that you should avoid oats for six months when you have first been diagnosed.
It can first seem like an overwhelming task to exclude so many foods from your diet. However, there are many naturally gluten-free foods: rice, potatoes, beans and lentils, meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds. Alternatives to wheat, barley and rye flour include corn, bean, soy, nut, tapioca and brown or white rice flours. There are also many gluten-free flour blends on the market. Health food stores often stock a variety of brands, and gluten-free breads, pasta, cakes and biscuits are found in most well stocked supermarkets. Once a gluten allergy test has confirmed your celiac disease, your doctor can also refer you to a nutritionist for advice about a healthy and balanced diet.