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Public Awareness Needed: Study Shows Celiac Disease Patients on the Rise

By Oon HS, (7 April 2010)

Celiac disease (CD) is a disease which has relation with gluten, i.e. proteins that contain in specific grains, which can be found in all forms of wheat, rye, barley and triticale. CD is an unusual disease, but it is not rare nowadays as compared to fifty years ago. Recent study done by Dr. Joseph Murray from Mayo Clinic found out that this disease is four times more common than years before. Now, about 1% of people, or one in every hundred of people, will suffer from Celiac disease. Patients with CD must avoid having any food which has any trace of gluten. If they had gluten in their diet, even in a small amount, their bodiesí immune system will trigger a response that will damage the lining of their small intestine. Over a long period, it will affect the absorption of nutrients and lead to other serious health problems.

Before this, Celiac disease is considered as genes-related disease as it usually runs in families. However, researchersí findings suggest that environment changes may significant contribute to the increase. Celiac patients are often undiagnosed and untreated as some of the symptoms for celiac disease are mistaken for other disease, for example irritable bowel syndrome and common digestive problems. Studies show that for every patient diagnosed with CD, there are 30 other patients who are not diagnosed. Research findings show that the risks of mortality for undiagnosed and untreated CD patients are about four times higher that celiac-free people.

In view of its increasing prevalence and the impact on their survival, Celiac disease should be considered an important public health issue and need more attentions from patients and health professionals. A proactive approach, for example doing test in public for celiac disease, is needed to find out the high-risk patients, instead of waiting for people with symptoms to come for investigation. (article by






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