Celiac Disease Rises in the U.S.
Celiac disease is continuing to rise in the United States, the results of a longitudinal study say. According to Fox News, people can develop the immune reaction to gluten later in life in addition to being born with the disease.
Researchers said after monitoring participants for 37 years, the prevalence of celiac disease is give times greater. Another analysis using 50-year-old preserved blood samples from a U.S. database showed that antibodies associated with celiac weren’t as common in the 1950s as they are now. When the blood samples are compared to people today of the same age, scientists found people to be more than four times more likely to have gluten intolerance.
Scientists believe that the increased number of people with celiac disease can be attributed to an increase in sanitation and better public health, HealthDay News said. The lack of diverse bacteria leads our intestines to become more vulnerable to conditions like celiac. Other possibilities include an increase of gluten in plant varieties, or simply exposing children with a predisposition for the disease to gluten at too early an age.
Celiac disease causes the immune system to “launch an attack on the small intestine,” as Fox explains it, targeting the lining of the organ that helps the body absorb nutrients from food. If left undiagnosed, a person continuing to eat gluten would become increasingly malnourished. Even more serious, the small intestine can be permanently damaged and unable to absorb nutrients even after a person stops eating gluten.