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More people may have celiac disease than previously estimated

Category: Autoimmune Diseases

A new study revealed that many more people may have celiac disease than previously estimated. The study used a randomly selected control group and tested members of the group's gluten tolerance to determine if they had the disease. Researchers found that the disease was much more common than current estimates among the study group.

New parameters for celiac disease
The study, published in the BMC Journal, involved 2,500 Australian men and women who were given blood tests as well as the more typical antibody testing for celiac disease. The findings among the study group showed that 1 in every 60 women and 1 in every 80 men had celiac disease. Previous estimates commonly placed the numbers closer to 1 in 100 for both men and women. The Boston Business Journal noted that some studies even put the rates of the disease closer to 1 in 133 people.

Many people may have never had the proper lab tests to determine if they have celiac disease. While many people get the antibody test, there is a bowel biopsy test that many patients neglect to get. The researchers commented that this may have had an impact in the differing rates of the disease found in the study and previously.

Signs and symptoms of celiac disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes a reaction in the intestines after gluten is consumed. Gluten is a protein found in rye, wheat, barley and other grains commonly used in foods like bread and pasta. Eating gluten with celiac disease causes the intestines to essentially attack themselves, which can lead to inflammation and issues absorbing nutrients over time, noted the Mayo Clinic.

This lack of absorption of nutrients can negatively affect the entire body, from the brain to the bones. Many people who are diagnosed with celiac disease as an adult may already have low bone density due to many years of a lack of nutrition. Other symptoms can include dietary issues like diarrhea and weight loss. Children with celiac disease can suffer from poor growth due to the lack of vitamins and minerals.

Having a test for celiac disease can allow people to begin eating a gluten-free diet that will not harm the intestines. A lab test online can be a good alternative to a visit to an allergist or doctor's office.

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