Who has celiac disease? While you cannot tell just by looking at a person, there are some common issues that can point doctors in the direction of celiac disease. Here is a list of 8 things that make a person more likely to have celiac disease.
- Celiac disease is the most common genetic autoimmune disease in the world. Celiac disease runs in families. First degree relatives are found to have celiac disease 4% to 12%. Second degree relatives also appear to have a higher prevalence.
- 100% of people with dermatitis herpetiformis, an intensely itchy chronic skin condition, have celiac disease. Dermatitis herpetiformis is the skin expression of celiac disease. It is an intensely itchy rash that sometime occurs symmetrically on the arms and legs, but may present anywhere.
- 1 in 5 people with collagenous colitis have celiac disease. 20% of people with collagenous colitis have celiac disease. Collagenous colitis is inflammation in the lining of the colon. It can only be seen under a microscope. Everyone diagnosed with collagenous colitis should be tested for celiac disease.
- Up to 8% of people with Type 1 diabetes have celiac disease. People with diabetes and celiac disease have been found to have similarities in their genes with seven common alleles. Everyone diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes should be tested for celiac disease.
- One in ten people with Downs syndrome have celiac disease. Celiac disease affects 10% of persons with Downs syndrome. Proper diagnosis and treatment with a gluten-free diet has been found to improve symptoms and quality of life. Everyone diagnosed with Downs syndrome should be tested for celiac disease.
- Almost 7% of persons with cardiomyopathy have celiac disease. Cardiomyopathy is an enlargement of heart chambers and subsequent reduction in their ability to pump blood. Cardiomyopathy responds to a gluten-free diet, possibly because nutrients like carnatine are better absorbed. Everyone diagnosed with cardiomyopathy should be tested for celiac disease.
- Until recently, celiac disease was thought to be a rare disease affecting less than 1 in 5,000 children. It is now know to affect 1 in 100 persons and can present symptoms at any stage during life. That means it affects children and adults.
Celiac disease is a permanent condition but was previously thought to be temporary affliction that children could “grow out of.” Once the immune system has been triggered, it forever identifies gluten as a poison or foreign body within the system. That means it will always attack when gluten is eaten. This attack causes inflammation, intestinal damage, and malabsorption of nutrients.