Celiac (Sprue) Disease Community
Gluten Questions
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Gluten Questions

What are the differences between Celiac desease,
gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity ?
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Gluten sensitivity and gluten intolerance are essentially the same thing and nearly interchangeable.  The biggest difference between these and diagnosed Celiac is that Celiac is a type of autoimmune disease and more is involved than being sensitive or intolerant to gluten.  

Where the lines get blurred is when someone is struggling with the doctors and medical community to get answers to the digestive health issues one is dealing with, because Celiac doesn't always get diagnosed and is missed in many people.  Celiac isn't easy to diagnose for many people.  I am one such person who has personal anectodal evidence that I personally am dealing with either gluten intolerance or Celiac.  The blood tests can often have false negatives.  I have good reason to believe I am one of the people with a false negative.  Then, too, many doctors rely solely on the blood test and are convinced that this is such an "advanced" blood test compared to years ago.  So, there are actually many in the medical community who don't know enough about either one of these issues.

Then, too, some people view gluten intolerance as a less severe form of Celiac.  Some people think that IBS could be a less severe form, too.  This is because the lines really do get blurred a bit.  But, many with IBS know they don't tolerate gluten, as gluten can cause the IBS to flare up.  But, doctors who will only deal with the blood test and won't go beyond the blood test, which is not really as accurate as some choose to stubbornly believe.  I know, because I have run into such doctors.  This creates frustration for people needing answers.  Who wants to deal with this dismissive attitude when dealing with baffling health issues?  

Anyway, it's because of Celiac not being very easy to diagnose in a lot of people and the medical community's attitude towards the illness itself that creates the confusion and the blurring of lines.

Basically, all Celiacs have gluten intolerance, but not everyone who has gluten intolerance necessarily has Celiac.  I'm still not sure if I have Celiac or not, but I am most definitely negatively impacted by gluten whether that blood test says I test negative for it or not.  It doesn't help that so much of the medical community at large is rather dismissive towards people who experience bad symptoms from consuming gluten but who test negative for even gluten intolerance with the blood test.  It doesn't help when this dismissive attitude is so pervasive that too many doctors refuse to do a small intestine biopsy if the blood test is negative even though the small intestine biopsy is far more accurate.  The medical community is greatly to blame for the confusion.

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