Gluten sensitivity is a medical condition that was not as widely known until quite recently. However, it can get quite serious and although it is not as harmful as the actual Celiac disease, it can be dangerous for one’s health as well.
If you want to find out more about this type of sensitivity, about its relationship with wheat and, even more about its relationship with the respiratory system, then read on.
Gluten vs. Wheat Allergy: Are they really the Same?
Gluten is a protein that can be found in a lot of grains and which is believed to cause sensitivity in a lot of people.
In some cases, this sensitivity can be manifested in minor ways, while in other cases the person ingesting grains (and thus gluten as well) will experience symptoms that are rather serious (especially in the case of the Celiac disease, where the body actually starts attacking its own tissues).
Wheat allergy is very commonly mistaken with gluten sensitivity (or allergy) because of a rather obvious reason: wheat is a grain and it does contain gluten.
However, the two of them do not always overlap and a person can be allergic to wheat and not to other products containing a certain amount of gluten.
When someone with wheat allergy ingests something containing wheat, the body will start producing anti-bodies to fight the wheat protein itself.
When it comes to the way wheat allergy and gluten allergy are diagnosed, the methods that are most commonly used are also different.
If you are suspected to have a wheat allergy, then the doctor will probably ask you to keep a food diary and to eliminate every product containing wheat to see what happens.
It will be only after this that you may have to undergo certain blood tests. In the case of the gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease though, only blood tests can tell whether or not you suffer from them.
As for the symptoms shown by both of these medical conditions, they are very different as well. Someone who shows sensitivity to gluten will feel bloated, may have diarrhea, may feel pain around the abdominal area or may lose weight.
If the gluten sensitivity is also associated with the Celiac disease, the symptoms can get much worse and they may include: malnutrition (deficiency when it comes to certain vitamins or minerals), growth-related issues, delayed puberty, miscarriage, dermatitis herpetiformis, and so on.
Wheat Allergy, Gluten Allergy and Respiratory Issues
As you have just read, the symptoms that appear in the case of wheat allergy and those that appear in the case of the gluten allergy are very different from each other. Wheat allergy is manifested as a typical allergy and the patient will feel itchy eyes, nausea and… respiratory issues.
Nasal congestion, swollen throats, difficulty in breathing, sneezing, having a runny nose and dry cough are all symptoms associated with most of the allergies out there, including with wheat allergy.
Since gluten “allergy” is not an actual allergy, but a sensitivity (or it can be associated with an actual congenital disease, the Celiac), it cannot be said that it is characterized by breathing problems.
To answer the question posed in the title in a short way, yes, wheat allergy can cause breathing problems, but no, gluten sensitivity does not generally cause any such issues.
Can These Medical Conditions be treated?
In one way or another, all three medical conditions described here (wheat allergy, gluten sensitivity and Celiac Disease) can be treated and/or managed.
It is important that you don’t start treating yourself before you know for sure what your diagnosis is, because you do not want to end up harming yourself even more.
When learning to cope with any of these conditions, bear in mind that your life style may have to suffer drastic changes and that you will have to start with your diet.
If you are allergic to wheat, then you will have to eliminate it completely from your life, and it will have to be the same in the case of the Celiac Disease or in the case of the gluten intolerance.
However, if you are just allergic to wheat, you will be able to eat certain grains that contain gluten (but which are wheat-free).
Furthermore, do bear in mind that although there is no actual medicine to be prescribed for the gluten intolerance (or for the Celiac disease), you may be prescribed with antihistamines (or epinephrine, in severe cases) if you are diagnosed with wheat allergy.