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Poles Finding More Celiac Disease, Less Symptoms

Celiac.com 04/02/2009 - A recent study finds rates of celiac disease in Polish children are four times higher than estimated, and are only slightly lower than those of other northern European populations—at about 1 in 124 persons. Moreover, they found that symptoms in those diagnosed were typically absent, minimal or vague.

To date, the only epidemiological studies of celiac disease undertaken in Poland had been carried out within limited areas and involved mainly symptomatic patients or high-risk groups. Until now, celiac was thought to affect about 1 in 400 children in the country. A team of researchers based in Poland recently set out to determine actual rates of celiac disease among Polish children.

The research team was made up of Anna B. Szaflarska-Poplawska, Monika Parzecka, Lucyna Muller, Waldemar Placek. The team enrolled 3235 local children aged 12 to 15 years from the city of Bydgoszcz, and conducted screens for antiendomysial antibodies IgA endomysium (EmA) and IgG EmA. Patients with positive  IgA EmA and/or IgG EmA results were offered a small-bowel biopsy.

They found that 25 children showed positive IgA EmA and/or IgG EmA results (0.8%). 11 children elected to undergo biopsy. 7 showed histological features of celiac disease of either Marsh stage III-B or III-C, 4 children showed normal histology, while 14 children opted to skip the small-bowel biopsy.

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As is common with celiac disease, more girls than boys were affected (P<0.0001), while 2 of the 7 children with celiac disease showed no symptoms, and the other 5 presented only vague or mild symptoms.

Original national estimates put the incidence of celiac disease among children in Poland at1 in 404, while the team’s serologic sampling shows that to be nearly four times higher at 1 in 124.

The authors note that these updated figures are slightly lower than those of other countries, and that symptoms were generally absent, or vague and unclear symptoms course, despite the presence of advanced lesions in the small bowel. Overall, though, it seems that the rates found in Poland match rates in North America, which all hover at about 1% of the population.

Of particular interest is the rise of asymptomatic, or vaguely symptomatic instances of the disease, in which damage is occurring, but no outward signs are present.

Medical Science Monitor 2009.

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1 Response:

 
Sharon
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said this on
11 Jun 2012 5:30:52 PM PDT
Recently, I went back to the celiac.com "archives" and read this piece. Being of Polish descent, I found this intriguing, as my symptoms were there for decades but were insidious and subtle; they moved from system to system, yet never incapacitated me as I stayed of strong mind and will. As I grew older, it was easy for doctors to blame my issues on my weight, peri-menopause and menopause, then simply aging. Even the doctor who diagnosed me wanted to put me on an anti-depressant a few years before my diagnosis, only to discover I had one of the lowest Vitamin D levels she had ever seen. I am in my mid-fifties, and while I am one of those obese celiac disease folks and I still have weight to get off (it quickly stabilized on the gluten-free diet), I feel and look ten years younger! If I could only get my stubborn relatives of Italian (another big ethnic group with celiac disease) and Polish descent to listen and get tested, or at least go gluten-free to see if their symptoms and disorders (similar to what I suffered) lessen.




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