Celiac.com 06/02/2009 - Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder thatis triggered by gluten, and it is being diagnosed more often than inthe past. Previously considered quite rare, it is now estimated tooccur in 1 in 100-150 people in all societies (with the possibleexception of Japan). Physical activity counters some of the lastingsymptoms of celiac disease, but some of the symptoms actually mayinhibit physical activity. Older adults (+55) with celiac disease mayhave positive or negative attitudes toward physical activity. As itstands, we’re not sure whether celiac disease helps or hinders theirwill to exercise.
There are many symptoms associated with celiac disease. They mayinclude neurological symptoms, physical symptoms and overall feelingsof fatigue or depression. This makes celiac disease difficult toidentify, but also forces individuals with celiac disease to find theirown individualized balanced lifestyles. Balanced lifestyles areespecially important for older adults with celiac disease because, asanyone diagnosed with a disease knows, they must maintain theirphysical wellbeing in order to heal. Older adults with celiac diseaseare also at risk of gaining weight after starting a gluten free dietbecause their bodies absorb nutrients so much more efficiently thanbefore, and because many gluten-free breads and desert substitutes maybe higher in calories than their gluten-containing counterparts.
Because each person with celiac disease exhibits different symptoms,each older adult with celiac disease must find their own way of livingwith the disease. Their will to excercise depends on how celiac diseasehas affected their appetite, energy level, mental health, nervoussystem and overall body functions.
Research about the attitudes of older adults with celiac disease toward physical activity will help to understand:
- The general attitudes of older adults with celiac disease toward physical activity;
- The symptoms of celiac disease that directly or indirectly affect older adults’ attitudes toward physical activity;
- How physicians, recreation centres, celiac associations and theCanadian Government can work with people with celiac disease tomaintain or increase their levels of physical activity, and;
- Provide literature on nutrient deficiency and physical activityto patients in need of information or reassurance about their attitudestoward physical activity.
Certain studies have shown that allergies can exacerbate or inducefood-dependent allergy symptoms (Sampson, 2003). If someone with celiacdisease were to experience symptoms as if they were having an allergicreaction to gluten when they conducted certain exercises, they wouldeither try to push through, stop, or change their exercise program orschedule. They could exercise only in the morning, before breakfast andafter a long period of not eating, or they could choose activities withless physical impact, such as walking/hiking, or biking.
Symptoms of celiac disease may also encourage exercise. If an olderadult with celiac disease finds out that they have low bone density,they may choose to increase their weight bearing activity to encouragebone growth.
There is a long list of symptoms that are associated with celiacdisease. Some of the symptoms of celiac disease that are documented inliterature about include:
- No obvious physical symptoms (just fatigue, overall not feeling well)
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Weight loss
- Pallor (unhealthy pale appearance)
- Borborygmi (stomach rumbling)
- Voracious appetite
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Failure to thrive
- Lymphocytic gastritis
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Hypocalcaemia/ hypomagnesaemia
- Vitamin K deficiency
- Coetaneous bleeding
- Epitasis (nose bleeding)
- Hematuria (red urine)
- Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
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- Sampson, H.A. (2003). Food Allergy. Journal of Allergy Clinical Immunology. 111:2, S540-S547.
- Sategna-Guidetti, C. et al. (2000). The effects of 1-year glutenwithdrawal on bone mass, bone metabolism and nutritional status innewly diagnosed adult coeliac disease patients. Alimentary Pharmacology& Therapeutics. 14, 35-43.
- Palosuo, K. (2003). Transglutaminase-mediated cross-linking of apeptic fraction of w-5 gliadin enhances lgE reactivity inwheat-dependent, exercise-induced anaphylaxis. Journal of Allergy andClinical Immunocology: 111:6, 1386-1392.