Can a wheat allergy cause breathing problems?

By: Contributors

Wheat allergies are caused by a misguided immune system. Even though wheat is harmless, there are some proteins in wheat (albumin, globulin, gliadin and gluten) that trigger an allergic person's body to fight back. When you eat or breathe in wheat flour, your body releases an antibody called immunoglobulin which then sets off other chemicals in the body to attack the wheat allergen. The fight between your body and the allergens can result in a variety of allergic symptoms.

A common symptom of wheat allergies is difficulty breathing. This difficulty ranges from a stuffy nose to a swollen throat to anaphylaxis. The most dangerous is anaphylaxis, which has the potential to be fatal. With anaphylaxis, your throat can swell up or tighten, and your chest can start to hurt. In addition, you suffer from a severe difficulty to breathe and trouble swallowing. Anaphylaxis is also accompanied by paleness, dizziness and a weak pulse. If anaphylaxis sets in, immediate medical attention is required. If there's an epinephrine injection nearby, the person having the allergic reaction should use it.


Two other breathing problems associated with wheat allergies are wheat-dependent, exercise-induced anaphylaxis and baker's asthma. Exercised-induced anaphylaxis happens to some people with wheat allergies after they consume wheat and then work out. The result is the potentially fatal anaphylaxis mentioned above. People with this condition may suffer the same reaction if they consume wheat and then take aspirin within the next few hours. Meanwhile, baker's asthma is an allergy triggered by people who breathe in wheat flour; the result is breathing problems. When it comes to baker's asthma, the problem may be the wheat proteins, like in regular wheat allergies, or it may be a fungus found in the flour.