I know this post isn’t directly related to celiac disease, but there may be some people out there who don’t eat wheat and read this blog. Could you be avoiding wheat because of a misdiagnosed food allergy? A new report in the New York Times says it’s very possible.
According to the article more people are needlessly removing certain foods from their diet. It says “In extreme cases, misdiagnosed allergies have put children at risk for malnutrition.” The NYT article goes on to say “…avoiding food in the mistaken fear of allergy may be making the overall problem worse – by making children more sensitive to certain foods when they finally do eat them.”
Food allergy diagnoses are on the rise – up 18 percent according to the article. But along with that are misdiagnoses of food allergies. The New York Times article explains why that might be:
“The culprit appears to be the widespread use of simple blood tests for antibodies that could signal a reaction to food. The tests have emerged as a quick, convenient alternative to uncomfortable skin testing and time-consuming “food challenge” tests, which measure a child’s reaction to eating certain foods under a doctor’s supervision.
While the blood tests can help doctors identify potentially risky foods, they aren’t always reliable. A 2007 issue of The Annals of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology reported on research at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, finding that blood allergy tests could both under- and overestimate the body’s immune response. A 2003 report in Pediatrics said a positive result on a blood allergy test correlated with a real-world food allergy in fewer than half the cases.”
So how do you know if your child’s blood test is accurate for food allergies? Dr. David Fleischer of National Jewish Health told the Times,”..parents given a positive blood test result should seek advice from an experienced allergist who performs medically supervised food challenge testing.”
Clearly if you or your child have been diagnosed with celiac disease through a positive biopsy, the content of this article does not include you. Celiac disease and food allergies are very different. You should stay with your celiac disease diagnosis and your gluten-free diet. Any time anyone is on a recommended or prescribed diet, they should always consult their physician before trying the potential allergan again.