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Celiac Vs. Gluten Allergy

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I know this isn't probably a simple issue, but it is difficult for me to get a clear understanding of whether you have to be a celiac to have a gluten allergy. I assume the genetic test demonstrates Celiac's Disease, while the antibodies test/biopsy can look at gluten allergy. So you may not have the genes (DQ2 or DQ8) but you can still test positive for antibodies/biopsy (and thus be allergic to gluten)? But if you do have the genetic makers and test positive for antibodies/biopsy then you have Celiac's?

If this is right doesn't that mean that if you aren't a Celiac, but you are allergic to gluten that you could at some point possibly eat gluten again; whereas a celiac will always have a problem with gluten?

I have seen people posting that they tested positive for Celiacs, but only got the biopsy and/or antibodies tests; so is that accurate to say that they are "celiacs" when they could just be allergic to gluten? Or is there even a difference between celiacs and gluten allergy/intollerance?

Also what is the point of the genetic testing, if it doesn't really tell you much except that it is either more likely for you to have celiacs or it is not possible (genes don't change and if you aren't positive you never will be)?

I have DQ2 marker, but antibodies test seems negative, so no diagnosis. And so people say get the biopsy, but that could also come up negative when that is not truly the case. I know many of you probably share in my frustration of not being able to be accurately diagnosed, but hopefully you will be able to help my understanding of the questions above. Thanks

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This is what I posted in a different thread:

Short answer is that a gluten allergy is when the body mistakenly attacks the gluten consumed and the histamines used in the attack irritate the surrounding tissue. With celiac, consuming gluten causes the immune system to "think" it needs to attack the body - usually in the small intestines but symptoms can appear other places.

The treatment to both gluten allergy and celiac is the same - gluten free diet.

That is the basic difference. Others here can get into much more technical factors if you want.

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Guest j_mommy

You can determine celiac by antibodies test or biopsy or for some a dietary response. My celiac was dx'd with the blood test and biopsy...I DO NOT have a gluten allergy.

A gluten allergy and celiac are different.

Also if a person has the celiac gene or genes it does not automatically mean they have celiac.

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I'm sure someone will give a much more scientific and comprehensive explanation. But, I'll add this... allergies cause histamine to be released into the system. Celiac does not.

With allergies, the body "attacks" the offending allergens. With Celiac, the body attacks itself (ie: autoimmune).

With an allergy, medications such as epinephrine and/or Benadryl (antihistamines) can block the release and stop an allergic reaction.

With Celiac, nothing can stop the reaction if gluten is ingested.

An intolerance to gluten is an entirely different thing. And, yet... a gluten free diet is the only solution.

I am gluten intolerant. I do not have a diagnosis of Celiac. I am not allergic to gluten. I am, however, fairly certain that I'm allergic to wheat.

Clear as mud, huh?

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Ok that clears it up some and now I understand better how the body responds differently based on whether it is an allergy, intollerance, or celiacs and what makes them different. Thank you for your responses!

However I am still a little confused on the testing...are there different tests to check for allergy, intolerance, or celiacs? It sounds like if you have a gluten allergy then the antibodies would not be present, so do they do a gluten allergy test (like prick test or blood test) like they would for other food allergies like wheat or peanuts? So when I did the genetic testing and antibodies testing I was just looking for Celiacs and would still need to be tested for an allergy? Also is there a separate test for intolerance?

If you know a good, reliable food allergy test please let me know as I am going this friday to the allergist.

Thank you.

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Honestly, I am not sure that there are any true tests for intolerances, other than dietary trials. I very well could be wrong, though. I've had allergy testing done more than once, and my children have all had allergy testing done, two kids had complete food panels. Gluten was not something they RAST tested for, nor was it something they did skin testing for. They did, however test for wheat. My daughter is severely allergic to wheat... AND she's Celiac. It's a double whammy for her. Ingestion causes the histamine reaction, plus the gastrointestinal reaction. It's quite awful. =(

Needless to say, we do *everything* in our power to keep her free of both substances.

I also am not as well versed on the Celiac tests as many of the fine folks here. I do know that other "intolerances" or leaky gut issues can cause certain parts of the Celiac panel to be elevated, with our without actually having Celiac. In my case, my AGA IgG was more than 7 times the normal range. All the other values were within range. One doctor said, "Nope... not Celiac." The other doctor said, "Oh, we'd better investigate."

It seems that even the professionals don't always agree on the validity of the blood tests, which is why they proceed with the endoscopy.

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In my reading on the subject over the past two years or so, I've seen intolerance used to mean a "GI system response to food consumed" and I've seen it used as an umbrella term to include true allergies, celiac and unknown-mechanism negative dietary response". That lack of a definition creates problems with the validity of any definitive statements about intolerance.

As always, just my opinion...

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Is Dermatitis Herpetiformis enough cause to be diagnosed with Celiacs? The posted question got me wondering.... From what I have read DH is a direct result of Celiac autoimmune reaction.

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