Home Instead Senior Care, Birmingham

Celiac disease cases on the rise

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Researchers working to solve the puzzle of when people develop celiac disease have uncovered some surprising findings – the number of celiac cases is on the rise, particularly in the elderly.
According to University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers, the incidence of the disease has doubled every 15 years in the U.S. since 1974. Using blood samples from more than 3,500 adults, they found the number of people with blood markers for celiac disease increased steadily from one in 501 in 1974 to one in 219 in 1989. In 2003, a study by the university’s Center for Celiac Research put the number of people with celiac disease at one in 133.
As people in the study aged, the incidence of celiac disease rose, echoing the findings of a 2008 Finnish study that found the prevalence of celiac disease in the elderly to be nearly two-and-a-half times higher than in the general population.
“You’re never too old to develop celiac disease,” says Alessio Fasano, M.D., director of the university’s Center for Celiac Research. 
Celiac disease is triggered by consuming gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Classic symptoms include diarrhea, intestinal bloating and stomach cramps. Left untreated, it can lead to the malabsorption of nutrients, damage to the small intestine and other medical complications.
“You’re not necessarily born with celiac disease,” says Carlos Catassi, M.D., of the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Italy, lead author of the paper and co-director of the Center for Celiac Research. “Our findings show that some people develop celiac disease quite late in life.” He urges physicians to consider screening their elderly patients.
If individuals can tolerate gluten for many decades before developing celiac disease, some environmental factor or factors other than gluten must be in play, Fasano says. Identifying and manipulating those factors could lead to novel treatment and possible prevention of celiac disease and other autoimmune disorders, he said.
Our CAREGivers can help seniors with special nutritional needs and accompany them to doctor appointments.We also have Cooking Under Pressure public education campaign, which focuses on providing education and support to seniors and their family members who sometimes are stressed by the demands of caregiving.

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avoid retirement home said...

Thanks for helping me better understand this disease. I think this disease affects more Americans than I realized. I think giving good senior care to these people is the most important thing we can do for them.

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