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Is Childhood Celiac Disease a Factor in Global Deaths Due to Diarrhea?

Celiac.com 08/30/2011 - In a first of its kind study, a team of researchers is attempting a global estimate of the burden of celiac disease in childhood, and to to determine what role childhood celiac disease might play in global mortality due to diarrhea.

The research team included Peter Byass, Kathleen Kahn, and Anneli Ivarsson. They are affiliated with the Umeå Centre for Global Health Research, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine at Umeå University in Umeå, Sweden, and with the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt), School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences at University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In the last several decades, celiac disease has become an an increasingly recognized public health problem. More recently, celiac disease has emerged as a global earth issue, in spite scant globally representative epidemiological data.

Because children with celiac disease often have chronic diarrhea and malnutrition, a proper diagnosis is often missed, especially in poorer settings, where water-borne infectious diarrheas are common, and many children fail to thrive.

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Photo: CC-unknownTo make their assessment, the two used available data to build a basic model of childhood celiac disease, incorporating estimates of population prevalence, probability of non-diagnosis, and likelihood of mortality among undiagnosed children of all countries from 1970 to 2010.

In their paper, the two state the assumptions underlying their model, and make the model available as a supplementary file.

Based on their model, in 2010 there were around 2.2 million children under 5 years of age living with celiac disease, while each year, there would be about 42,000 deaths related to celiac disease in these children. That would mean that, in 2008, deaths related to celiac disease likely totaled about 4% of all childhood diarrhea deaths worldwide.

Even if celiac disease accounts for only a small proportion of global diarrhea deaths, these deaths are preventable, but not by normal diarrhea treatment, which can often involve gluten-based food supplements.

They also note that, as other causes of diarrhea mortality decline, celiac disease will become a proportionately greater problem unless clinicians begin to try gluten-free diets for children with chronic diarrhea and malnutrition.

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3 Responses:

 
CeliBelli
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said this on
05 Sep 2011 10:26:04 AM PDT
An element of this situation the study and this article fail to address is whether the food aid itself might in fact be inducing mortality by introducing gluten into populations of the world where it is not normally eaten. This needs to be looked at quite closely by the UN and aid organizations. What is commonly diagnosed as "failure to thrive" might, in fact, be failure to feed what these already starving populations can digest safely.

 
spencer jackson
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said this on
09 Sep 2011 2:19:42 AM PDT
Good article, I'm always searching for information like this.

 
Khurshed
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said this on
01 Apr 2013 11:23:23 AM PDT
I agree. Celiac was once considered a childhood disease. Studies have shown that most often, children who were diagnosed with celiac disease, grow up to be adults with unexplained symptoms. All celiacs know that this is one of the most difficult diagnoses to make. Many doctors still treat the individual symptoms, without treating the underlying cause, which is the very food we consume to stay alive. I have found that, in retrospect, I have had symptoms all my life. Having been misdiagnosed, it took my uncle, then my grandfather almost dying, and being diagnosed with celiac sprue to bring the disease to my attention. It seems my family was full of undiagnosed celiacs, and we have all benefited from a gluten-free diet.




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Please share what was so difficult about starting your account.

I'm new here so please forgive me if I'm in the wrong forum. But I could use some clarity and input.. So I'll try to make my story brief as possible? So about 8 months ago I began itching uncontrollably and after going to the Dr for labs she found my liver enzymes were 5x what they should be and was referred to a gastro Dr. Gastrointestinal Dr ran multiple scans, blood work over the next 2 months and referred me to teaching hospital with a " tumor board" apparently I had a mass within my bile ducts that was blocking bile from liver. Was given a grim diagnosis of rare cancer and told would be dead within the year. Then had an endoscopy done to get tissue of the mass and for some reason it had partially resolved and was no longer blocking bile duct. At this point they could not find and cancerous cells. So fast forward 3 months I'm still in pain and had another endoscopy and the biopsy taken showed high possibility of celiacs. The blood work was negative for celiac but after the grim cancerous diagnosis I had been unable to eat for 2 weeks or so and so I'm not sure if that would have skewed the labs?. How could the biopsy show high possibility of celiac? And had anyone heard of celiac causing inflammation in the bile ducts? I have been gluten-free for 6 weeks and have been feeling remarkably better pain in the upper right quadrant is less, and migraines ( I have had for my whole life) have lessened. So all this to say I don't understand celiacs and how to explain it to family. Or how all of a sudden this happens. Ask if anyone can shed any insight I would appreciate it. Blessings

Thank you for taking the time for sharing that info. Don't we have the best disease ever! There's got to be a better way to cut down the scarring. Yes, I've scratched till it bleed. Can't help it. It's like having a bunch of mosquito bites. Yes, only gluten free now. Still have bursts, so probably am being exposed to gluten. Will need to stop dapsone soon. Good luck with your situation.

Best Foods or Hellman's on the East Oast is Gluten free. You can make your own too! Easy! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/mayonnaise-recipe I buy any brand of sugar.

Are you sure you do not have fractures? I fractured two vertebrae two months after my celiac disease diagnosis DOING NOTHING!!!! Turns out I have osteoporosis from untreated celiac disease. ? Consider a bone scan.