We often tend to confuse both things, because the symptoms and solutions in both situations are very similar, but the truth is that the physiological consequences at the intestinal level of gluten intolerance have nothing to do with those of celiac disease. And note that this is not the only thing that differentiates them.
That is why we have felt the need to establish which are the differences between gluten intolerance and celiac disease in a practical and simple way. If you are one of those who, suddenly, one day you began to feel true upset stomach and pain after eating a food that contained gluten, this information will be very useful. If this is not your case, you should also be clear that they are not the same thing.
The cases of both multiply
The data in this regard could not be more striking. In the last thirty years, the number of diagnoses of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) it has skyrocketed as detection processes in medicine have been perfected. In fact, according to data collected by the National Health System, it is believed that between 1% and 2% of the world’s population is affected by celiac disease, while intolerance affects around 6% of the population.
With respect to the cause of the increases in cases of gluten intolerance, some argue that it may be motivated by the way in which it is introduced wheat in childhood, the bread baking process and the new species of wheat, among other reasons. And it is that when we talk about this pathology what we are really talking about is intolerance to wheat, its protein or another of its components.
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Finally, note that the solution in both cases is the same, and basically consists of a gluten free diet. Of course, in the case of celiac disease, this has to be strict and for life (with zero tolerance to gluten), since its ingestion would have serious consequences in the short and long term. In the case of SGCN, what is recommended is that, at the start of treatment, the diet be as strict as possible, and from then on it is your job to go testing tolerance levels. And how is this done? Well, ingesting small amounts of gluten until checking that symptoms appear.
Differences between both pathologies
The first thing that should be clear in order to be able to distinguish them is that while celiac disease is a disease, a chronic, systemic and autoimmune disorder, gluten intolerance is an adverse reaction of the body to an antigen (gluten). On the other hand, gluten intolerance is usually diagnosed by exclusion, nothing to do with celiac disease, which manifests itself through a genetic or antibody testing in blood
Another big difference has to do with the fact that celiac disease has genetic predisposition, while intolerance does not. But what distances one from the other the most are, as we mentioned, the physiological consequences produced by gluten in both cases. Because, although in both scenarios gluten triggers intestinal cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting, fatigue or headache, the truth is that in the case of intolerance, there is no intestinal damage as such.
On the other hand the gluten consumption in a celiac person It has much more aggressive consequences. Coming to damage the intestinal wall and trigger nutrient malabsorption problems, for example. In other words, in the case of celiacs, the situation goes far beyond a set of symptoms that generate discomfort in those who suffer from it.
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