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Celiac Disease Highly Prevalent at Birth--Detectable by 2-3 Years of Age

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2004 Jul;39(1):80-84

Celiac.com 04/10/2005 - A study by Spanish researchers has found that celiac disease is highly prevalent among Spanish children—at least 1 in 118 of them are born with it. The study looked at 830 healthy children born between October 1998 and December 1999 whose parents had enrolled them in an early diagnosis program. Of the 830 children who initially enrolled, 613 were screened for anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies at 1.5 years of age, and 484 were screened at 2.5 years of age. At 1.5 years none of the children screened positive for the antibodies, but by 2.5 years 9 tested positive, and 7 of those 9 also had positive follow-up intestinal biopsies.

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The researchers conclude that at least 1 in 118 Spanish children are born with celiac disease, which is comparable to that found in other European populations—but the incidence determined in this study might actually have been higher had all of the children who participated in the initial 1.5 year old screening returned a year later for the second screening. The authors stop short of making a recommendation for a general screening of all Spanish children for celiac disease, and instead define the best timing for such a screening: 2-3 years of age.

This study indirectly highlights just how many celiac disease diagnoses are missed--most people with celiac disease are still never diagnosed and must live with the disease and its associated problems for life. Those who finally get a diagnosis often spend years suffering before it is figured out. Many get lymphoma and die--which is why we must continue to advocate for celiac disease screenings for the general population--perhaps starting as early as 2-3 years of age.

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It took me 20 years or more Barry so I wouldn't claim any great insight on this I had a 'eureka' moment, up until then I was walking around with multiple symptoms and not connecting any dots whatsoever. It is very, very difficult to diagnose and that's something that's reflected in so many of the experiences detailed here. A food diary may help in your case. It helped me to connect the gaps between eating and onset. It could help you to track any gluten sources should you go gluten free. It is possible for your reactions to change over time. As to whether its celiac, that's something you could explore with your doctor, stay on gluten if you choose to go that way. best of luck! Matt

I took Zoloft once. Loved it until it triggered microscopic colitis (colonoscopy diagnosed it). Lexapro did the same. However, I have a family member who is fiagnosed celiac and tolerates Celexa well.

Thanks for the update and welcome to the club you never wanted to join! ?

Jmg, I am glad you were able to come to the realisation that the culprit was in fact gluten. For me its not so simple. IBS runs in the family, as do several food intolerances. Its just in the last while that I can finally reach the conclusion that for me its gluten. The fact that it is a delayed effect-several hours after, made it harder. Friday I had some KFC, felt great. Saturday evening felt sleepy, Sunday felt awful and my belly was huge. I think I have gone from mildly sensitive to full blown celiac over the course of five years-if that possible. Thanks for all your help.

I thought I'd take a moment to provide an update, given how much lurking I've done on these forums the last year. It took a long time, but I've since had another gastroenterologist visit, many months of eating tons of bread, and an endoscopy where they took several biopsies. I have to say, the endoscopy was a super quick and efficient experience. During the procedure they let me know that it looked somewhat suspicious, causing them to take many biopsies, and then did comprehensive blood work. About a month later, I received a call telling me that the TTG came back positive a second time, and that the biopsies were a mix of negative (normal) results and some that were positive (showing blunting of the villi). As a result, I've been given a celiac diagnosis. It's been about a month now that I've been eating gluten free. Not sure if I'm really feeling all that different yet. It's a bit twisted to say, but in some way I was hoping for this diagnosis ? thinking how nice it would be to have an explanation, a plan of action, and feeling better. It's certainly no small change to be totally gluten free, but I'm hopeful.