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Is it Asthma—or a Gluten Cough?

Person Coughing with Tissue Vector Image

Millions of Americans struggle with symptoms of Asthma each year. However, some of the asthma cases may not actually be Asthma. Instead, the cough may be a response to the body’s attempt to manage gluten sensitivity. A common symptom for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is the production of excess mucus. This extra mucus is created to help the body fight off the inflammation resulting from a gluten “invasion.” In some patients, that cough is an indicator of an attempt to expel this excess mucus rather than being the result of Asthma.

Understanding Gluten And The Impacts Of Sensitivity

Gluten is a term that’s thrown around a lot today. It refers to a protein that occurs in various grains, including wheat. This protein is responsible for the chewy texture found in bread and appears in a wide variety of processed foods. Vegetarian protein products, processed foods, and sauces can all be sources of gluten. Those who consider pasta, bread, and cereal the primary culprits often overlook these sources. There are numerous types of gluten, including rice gluten and corn gluten. Still, the gluten in wheat seems to cause the majority of problems.

You may have heard the terms “gluten sensitivity,” “gluten intolerance,” and “gluten allergy” being tossed around. These terms are frequently used to describe a condition known as Celiac disease mistakenly. This autoimmune, genetic disorder causes the body to respond to this protein as if it’s a foreign invader. Symptoms of those suffering from this condition range from mild to life-threatening in nature. Some common symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Severe diarrhea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Rash
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Bloating and Gas

These are the most prominent symptoms and are among over 200 others that are known to occur with celiac disease. Some sufferers are so sensitive to gluten that merely coming into contact with it can cause symptoms. Others have to consume gluten to be impacted.

Celiac disease can be hazardous to the digestive tract. Within the intestines are hair-like fingers responsible for nourishing the body by absorbing nutrients from food. Gluten destroys the villi in those with celiac disease as it passes through the intestine. Regardless of the quality of the food they eat, the nutrients they need are not reaching the rest of the body.

How To Determine If You Are Gluten Sensitive

Many people struggle with accepting the symptoms they’re experiencing may be tied to gluten sensitivity. In most cases, these individuals will have been treated for their symptoms without the possibility of ever being broached. One step you can take is to start by eliminating gluten from your diet for set periods. For instance, you may eat gluten one day and then avoid it for three days. From there, you begin stretching the period between consuming gluten gradually to 14 days. Throughout this time, you should be tracking the occurrence of the suspect’s symptoms to determine if they’re impacted by the removal of gluten from your diet. You should also schedule an appointment with your specialist to work through this process.


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