Living And Thriving With A Wheat Allergy

Millions of people suffer from allergies each day from a variety of causes, some external and some internal. The external allergies come from environmental factors such as pollen, dust, and chemicals, while internal allergic reactions are most often caused by certain foods that one ingests, such as eggs, peanuts or shellfish. Wheat allergies are also one type of allergy that causes many painful side effects for the sufferer. It is a difficult allergy to manage, as many food sources that are available often contain wheat or a derivative thereof. Yet, with diligence, this allergy can be managed using some simple methods.

Describing Wheat Allergy Vs. Wheat Intolerance

Wheat allergy and wheat intolerance are two very different set of problems. A wheat allergy begins with a sudden allergic reaction to a component of the wheat. It is an auto-immune response that can cause asthma, coughing, vomiting or breathing difficulties. It can be life-threatening in some instances, depending on the person's reaction. A true allergy to wheat is rather rare, as less that one half percent of the population suffer from a true allergic response. Most of the problems from wheat come from wheat intolerance, which is when a person reacts to the gluten in wheat. The gluten is a complex protein that causes the wheat to stick together and rise when baked. It can also be found in rye and barley as well. This intolerance can affect as many as one in seven people, and the number is growing each year.

A wheat allergy is different from wheat intolerance in that wheat intolerance may or may not cause immediate symptoms as a true allergic reaction does. The symptoms of wheat intolerance may seem less obvious, such as gastrointestinal upset, eczema, depression, or low blood iron levels. Often, these symptoms aren't associated with wheat intolerance right away, and much needless suffering continues to occur. There are serious health risks associated with both wheat allergy and wheat intolerance, yet the intolerance risks are more long-term, chronic conditions such as diabetes, anemia, and bowel cancer.

The treatment for a wheat allergy is complete avoidance of all wheat products for a lifetime. This is difficult to maintain at first but is imperative if good health is desired. For a wheat intolerance, a complete gluten free diet is followed, avoiding all gluten-containing grains, including wheat, barley, rye, and because of contamination risks, oats as well. As stated, living with a wheat allergy or intolerance can make life in modern times a bit more difficult as planning and preparing are often needed, yet good health and results make it all worthwhile.