ZocdocAnswersWhat is the difference between a wheat allergy and a gluten allergy?

Question

What is the difference between a wheat allergy and a gluten allergy?

My doctor gave me a blood test and said that I have an allergy to wheat. Is the same as a gluten allergy or are they two different things?

Answer

The answer to this questions is that it depends on the type of blood test that your doctor did. I would suggest that you sit down with your doctor to get some clarification. Wheat allergies are one of the most common types of food allergies. In people who have a wheat allergy, eating wheat products can cause itching, rashes, and in severe cases trouble breathing and swelling of the face and tongue. This type of allergy is detected with a blood test called RAST testing, which detects antibodies in the blood to wheat components. A gluten allergy, on the other hand, is a specific reaction of the body to gluten, which is a wheat protein. Trouble with gluten causes celiac disease, which is a condition in which the body reacts against gluten in the small intestine, leading to bloating, abdominal pain, and other symptoms. Celiac disease is diagnosed by detected specific antibodies in the blood stream, which are different from those detected with RAST testing. Both conditions do require avoiding wheat products in order to clear up. However, it is helpful to know exactly what condition you are dealing with, and this will require some clarification from the doctor who performed the tests.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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