Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance – Is there a difference?
Interesting article recently published online on Yahoo Food regarding Celiac disease and Gluten intolerance. Certainly, there is a difference in these two conditions. Patients with gluten intolerance have similar and sometimes identical symptoms to those with Celiac disease, however there are important differences. First, patients with gluten intolerance do not have to abstain from gluten as rigorously as patients who have Celiac disease. Gluten intolerants abstain for symptomatic relief whereas those with Celiac disease must remain gluten free to prevent long term complications of the disease as well as to prevent increased mortality (death risk). From a diagnostic standpoint, patients with gluten intolerance have negative blood testing (serology) for celiac as well as negative biopsy results for celiac on egd exam, however, feel a subjective improvement in symptoms off of gluten containing foods.
In our experience, patients who have a sustained improvement off gluten for a period of longer than 12 weeks and negative serology as well as negative biopsy results have true gluten intolerance. Those that have immediate relief off of gluten but over the course of time have recurrence of symptoms likely have more of a placebo response.