I have been known to rant and rave about people who say they cannot walk through the bakery aisle without getting a gluten reaction. I have said that there is no way this is a celiac reaction.
So, I’m partially right and partially wrong.
It seems there is something called Baker’s Lung which is a non-allergy related type of asthma that is caused by exposure to inhaled wheat. Normally, someone is sensitized to inhaled wheat or rye by inhaling large amounts or in medium amounts over a long period of time. According to Wikipedia, it can cause shortness of breath tightness of the chest, coughing, sputum production and wheezing. Some patients may also develop upper airway symptoms such as itchy eyes, tearing, sneezing, and nasal congestion – sound like an allergy attack. These descriptions sound very similar to what the people have described on facebook. So, people can have a reaction to walking through the bread aisle – I was wrong here. I thought it was crazy, but it seems this type of reaction happens.
Someone may have issues walking through the bakery aisle, but it is not a celiac reaction. It is more like a non-allergy, allergic-type reaction.
In fairness, I do need to mention that there has been a documented case of two farmers with celiac working with wheat on a daily basis and both were on a gluten free diet. One farmer had ongoing celiac damage and the other did not. It is assumed the damage was through his work with wheat and inhaling the wheat. (I normally can find this article. I cannot find it now and I’ve been looking for 30 minutes. This paragraph is from memory and not documented, so take it with a grain of salt because I might be remembering incorrectly.)
We have to be careful attributing every symptom, ache, and pain to celiac disease. If we assume everything is celiac related, we might miss something else truly going wrong in our bodies. I have a tendency to attribute very little to my celiac disease and assume most things are separate and unrelated to celiac.
When I found a couple of swollen lymph nodes, I didn’t immediately think it was celiac related. Of course, I thought it was cancer and Dr. Google confirmed it. So, instead of freaking out, the likelihood that those lymph nodes are related to cancer is pretty slim. Instead of asking the internet, I asked my doctor. We have a plan for addressing my lymph nodes and next steps.
Also, because I did a gluten challenge I know what my celiac reactions are and what they look like. Before the challenge, I would have attributed much more to gluten than I do now.
Side note here – my celiac niece has struggled with stomach pain for about a year. This pain could start after a meal out or after eating in their gluten free house and didn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason. She missed at least one day a week of school due to pain and sometimes more. My sister thought her daughter was exceptionally sensitive to gluten. They eventually went to the doctor, she was diagnosed with reflux, and the doctor gave them a proton pump inhibitor. She stopped missing a day of school a week due to stomach pain. Maybe she isn’t super sensitive to gluten or maybe she is, but the pain in her belly has lessened.
Finally, if someone has only eaten whole foods in a gluten free kitchen for the last 48 hours, the pain, diarrhea, constipation, headache, or whatever symptoms they are having, are probably not related to gluten consumption. So, just think about it and use some common sense. The symptoms might be or it might not be related to gluten, but before blaming celiac make sure that is really the problem.
One thought on “I might be sorta wrong”
I really appreciate your articles. I’d like to just add a point to this. While I fully agree with you that I don’t understand people who claim to have reactions just walking past a row of baked bread (there is nothing airborne!), however, if you are in an environment where there is flour dust in the air; in a bakery, pizzeria, or even the baking aisle in the grocery store if bags have been recently disturbed, etc., and flour dust gets in your mouth by normal breathing, it’s not just going into your lungs. The moment flour dust enters your mouth, some of it is going to stick to the moisture in your mouth. At some point you will swallow it and once it enters your stomach and small intestine, a gluten reaction can occur. This can be a true problem for yhose with Celiac Disease. Like you, I also, however, I think that people need to look beyond Celiac for many illnesses and pains. I wish Doctors would also follow this rule. Once diagnosed with fibro and Celiac (& don’t get me started on being overweight!), they became the scapegoat for every complaint. Took years to finally get diagnosed with widespread moderate to severe osteoarthritis… I had just kept being told I needed to lose weight or it was the fibro so try an anti-depressant. We have to be our own advocates. Thanks for helping people think outside the Celiac box and getting info out there!