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Are You Sure You Have a Food Allergy?

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Food allergies are widespread, and if you have children you probably can’t put peanut butter sandwiches in their school lunchbox because of the risk to children with severe peanut allergies. But aside from the most common food allergies that are often quickly and easily diagnosed—like peanuts, tree nuts, milk, and eggs—there are a lot of symptoms that may seem like allergic reactions but are not. Instead, they could be caused by a mild to severe medical condition or disease that requires treatment and lifestyle changes to manage. Being properly examined and diagnosed is integral to make the safest diet changes and avoid long-term complications.

Continue reading to learn about diseases and other health problems that mimic allergies—you may recognize your own symptoms that lead you to believe you have a food allergy…

1. Misdiagnosing Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the small intestine and prevents the body from absorbing certain nutrients. While over the past decade health professionals have more actively begun testing for gluten sensitivities—causing a surge in the amount of people diagnosed with it—many people actually have celiac disease, which may present symptoms like an allergen but is a serious condition not always tested. Celiac disease causes long-term damage to many vital organs if gluten is consumed, so it’s important to speak with your doctor about it if you experience any reaction the protein.

Short-term, immediate symptoms of celiac disease that mimic those of an allergen include bloating, cramping, and diarrhea. Other symptoms include anemia, weight loss, and fatigue. While the symptoms and severity of reactions to gluten varies widely among those with celiac disease, permanent and serious damage occurs even with mild reactions to gluten. This is why it’s important to be properly diagnosed and to avoid gluten completely for the rest of your life if you have the disease.

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