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Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity- PART I

Celiac disease is one of the most sinister and insidious of food allergies. It is estimated that as many as 3 million people in the US may have been diagnosed with the disease, and countless more, at least 97 percent, go undiagnosed and untreated. It should also be noted that as many as 30 million Americans or 10 percent of the American population have some kind of sensitivity to wheat or wheat gluten. Studies have shown that celiac
disease is most prevalent in Ireland, Finland, and northern Italy. It is truly a pandemic of the 21st century, so much so that the Italian government has recently considered having all children under the age of six tested for celiac disease.

Celiac disease (also known as CD or celiac sprue) is a permanent genetic syndrome of the small intestine caused by an extreme allergic reaction to the gluten protein found in wheat and wheat derivatives. It is the gluten sub-fraction gliadin that attacks the lining of the small intestine causing cellular deterioration. This then leads to the chronic inflammation of the small bowel, which results in poor absorption of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. This chain reaction of events can cause a great deal of damage to not just the digestive system, but also the entire body, including the nervous system and the vital organs.

Statistics on the Prevalence of Celiac Disease
• 1 in 167 supposedly healthy school children
• 1 in 111 healthy, asymptomatic adults
• 1 in 39 adults with celiac disease are positively diagnosed

Among those reported with gastrointestinal symptoms:

• 1 in 40 children
• 1 in 30 adults

According to a study published in the Lancet: 19 out of 20 cases go undetected and untreated

Prevalence in ethnicities:
• 1 in 250 Italians
• 1 in 122 Irish
• 1 in 85 Finnish
• 1 in 70 Sardinians
• 1 in 18 Algerian Saharawi refugee children

Among those with a parent, grandparent, or sibling diagnosed with celiac disease: 1 in 11 people.

Some of the symptoms and conditions associated with celiac disease are depression, overweight/underweight, rashes, diarrhea or constipation, abnormal elevation of liver enzymes, neuropathy, osteoporosis, diabetes, increased prevalence of autoimmune diseases, abdominal cancer, and thyroid conditions. It is important to note that some individuals with celiac disease will have very minor GI symptoms. Some health authorities state that clinical depression is the most commonly presenting symptom of undiagnosed celiac disease.

Commonly Reported Symptoms Presented with Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Allergy and Sensitivity

• Chronic Depression (some authorities say this is the most common presenting symptom of celiac disease, especially if the patient hasn’t responded well to medication or other treatments)
• Abnormal elevation of liver enzymes of unknown cause
• Permanent teeth with horizontal grooves and chalky whiteness
• Chronic nerve disease of unknown cause (such as ataxia and peripheral neuropathy)
• Osteoporosis in women not responding to conventional therapies
• Repeated low-impact bone fractures
• Intestinal Cancers
• Short stature in children
• Down Syndrome in children
• Chronic or recurring respiratory tract problems like ear infections and sinusitis
• Chronic fatigue caused by malabsorbtion of nutrients
• Chronic fatigue syndrome
• Mouth ulcers/canker sores
• Anemia, including, iron, folic acid, B12 and B6 deficiency anemia
• Osteoporosis
• Unintended weight loss
• Chronic diarrhea
• Constipation
• Abdominal bleeding
• Crohn’s disease
• Diverticulitis
• Depression
• ADD/ADHD and behavioral problems in children
• Insulin Dependent Diabetes
• Autism
• Thyroid disease, over and under active
Stay tuned for the conclusion of this article in next month’s newsletter.

Article obtained from Michael Joseph, HHC, AADP

By |2012-10-03T11:07:04-06:00October 3rd, 2012|Articles|