POLL: What Ails You?
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Feb 11 2012

POLL: What Ails You?

After reading the recent Wall Street Journal article, “New Guide to Who Really Shouldn’t Eat Gluten”, about a new proposal for a classification system for gluten-related disorders, I began to wonder about our readers.  I know many readers have Celiac Disease, but surely there are others who have a gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy or may be following the gluten-free diet for other health reasons.

If you have time, the article I linked to above is a good read.  It goes on the describe the new proposal that is being led by a group of 15 experts from 7 countries.  Two of those experts are Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research, and Dr. Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.

Classifying the Symptoms

Gluten-related disorders are rising around the world. One group of international experts has proposed classifying them based on the kind of defenses the body mounts.

Wheat allergy Can affect skin, gastrointestinal tract or respiratory tract

Symptoms: Hives, nasal and chest congestion, nausea, vomiting, anaphylaxis

Prevalence: Less than 1% of children, most outgrow it

Diagnosis: Blood and skin prick reveal IgE antibodies; food challenge

Treatment: Avoid wheat products

Celiac disease Antibodies to gluten damage intestinal villi needed to absorb food

Symptoms: Abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, osteoporosis, cancer; can also be asymptomatic

Prevalence: 1% of adults of European descent, up fourfold in 50 years

Diagnosis: Gene tests show HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 variations; blood tests reveal tTGA or EMA antibodies; biopsy shows villi damage

Treatment: Strict gluten-free diet can reverse symptoms

Gluten ataxia Antibodies to gluten attack cerebellum

Symptoms: Loss of balance and coordination; few GI symptoms

Prevalence: Gluten may be the cause of ataxia in a fifth of all sufferers of the ailment

Diagnosis: Blood tests show tTG6 and AGA antibodies; brain images are abnormal

Treatment: Gluten-free diet may stabilize ataxia but some damage may be irreversible

Gluten Sensitivity Gluten may trigger a primitive immune defense

Symptoms: similar to celiac disease without villi damage; foggy thinking, mood swings

Prevalence: Unknown

Diagnosis: Rule out celiac disease and wheat allergies; possible AGA antibodies in blood; symptoms ease when avoiding gluten

Treatment: Avoiding gluten, though small amounts on occasion may not cause problems

Sources: BMC Medicine, WSJ reporting

If only it was simple, right?  The article goes on to describe some of the confusion involved in testing and diagnosis.

So, my question to you all is: What ails you?  Please participate in the poll below & take the time to discuss in the comments section below.  What do you think the benefit of having a classification system would be, if any?

Article Written by:

Kimberly Bouldin is a gluten-free wife, runner & blogger with two children in Columbus, Ohio. After her celiac diagnosis in 2006, she has made it her mission to embrace an entirely new approach to nutrition in a gluten-free world, exploring options that run the gamut from "made from scratch" homemade bread to sampling and reviewing the gluten-free prepared foods that are continuously being introduced to the market. While navigating the waters of becoming gluten-free, Kim shares her experiences and passes along valuable product reviews in addition to helping other moms of celiac kids develop healthy menus that are kid-friendly and palatable. Kimberly is a valuable resource for those who are newly diagnosed, as well as for the more seasoned gluten-free veterans. Follow Kim on Twitter!


  1. Angela says:

    Very interesting! We need more info out there like this. So that people start knowing the signs!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    This is great. Thanks for the clarification! I look forward to hearing about the results… will you do another post on this?

  3. Rina says:

    Whenever I eat gluten i get severe, cystic acne. I don’t know what category I fall under… probably the gluten sensitivity?

  4. Crystal says:

    Are you sure it’s cystic acne. Celiacs can have a skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis. Supposedly looks like little blisters, etc. (and itchy).

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