Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. While both conditions involve an adverse reaction to gluten, the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options differ significantly. In this post, we’ll explore the differences between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity to help you understand these conditions better.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the small intestine when gluten is present. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When someone with celiac disease consumes gluten, it triggers an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine, leading to malabsorption of nutrients. Symptoms of celiac disease can include diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, weight loss, and fatigue. Celiac disease is diagnosed through blood tests and an intestinal biopsy. The only treatment for celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet, which can help manage symptoms and prevent further damage to the small intestine.
Gluten sensitivity, also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity, is a condition in which a person experiences symptoms after consuming gluten, but does not have celiac disease or a wheat allergy. The symptoms can be similar to those of celiac disease, such as abdominal pain, bloating, and fatigue, but they tend to be less severe and do not cause damage to the small intestine. Gluten sensitivity is diagnosed through a process of elimination, ruling out other conditions, and a gluten-free diet trial. Treatment for gluten sensitivity involves avoiding gluten-containing foods to manage symptoms.
Gluten Sensitivity vs Celiac Disease
The main difference between gluten sensitivity and celiac disease is the immune system’s response to gluten. In celiac disease, the immune system attacks the small intestine when gluten is present, whereas in gluten sensitivity, there is no immune response or damage to the small intestine. The symptoms of celiac disease tend to be more severe and can cause long-term damage to the small intestine if left untreated. In contrast, gluten sensitivity symptoms tend to be milder and do not cause long-term damage. Both conditions are managed through a gluten-free diet, but celiac disease requires stricter adherence to the diet to prevent further damage to the small intestine.
Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are two conditions that involve an adverse reaction to gluten, but they differ in their immune response, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options. If you suspect you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider to get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment plan. A gluten-free diet can help manage symptoms and prevent further damage to the small intestine in those with celiac disease, while those with gluten sensitivity can manage symptoms through avoiding gluten-containing foods.