Baby Development - The Prevalence of Gluten-sensitive Enteropathy in Iron Deficient Anemia Patients
Posted Jan 07 2009 3:09pm
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By Colleen Hurley, RD, Certified Kids Nutrition Specialist
Gluten Sensitive Enteropathy (GSE), more commonly known as celiac disease, is a genetically predisposed autoimmune disorder in which inflammation and gradual deterioration of the small intestine occurs upon the ingestion of the wheat protein gluten. Previously thought to be a rare disease, celiac is becoming more and more common as recent studies have found celiac to be one of the most frequently occurring genetically based diseases worldwide.
For some persons, celiac disease can be silent and celiacs are often treated for secondary conditions such as nutrient deficiencies long before a diagnosis is made. A new study made a similar discovery with regard to iron deficiency anemia. Published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, the study found that iron deficiency anemia (IDA) may be a direct result of celiac disease and may actually delay diagnosis resulting in further complications.
The study involved 4,120 people with IDA of varying age, gender, and ethnic backgrounds. Antibody levels were taken along with duodenal biopsies which were then scored according to the Marsh classification system which measures the degree of damage caused to the intestines by celiac disease.
The diagnosis of celiac disease was based on the labs tested along with personal history assessments. A gluten free diet was prescribed for all of the celiac patients. Two hundred and six of the persons studied had IDA of unknown origin and 30 of those patients had celiac disease.
The researchers found that for some of the people in the study, following a gluten free diet did indeed improve the iron status of those with celiac disease without the use of iron supplementation. In addition, there was a significant prevalence of celiac disease in people with IDA. Following a gluten free diet, according to researchers, can improve anemia in celiacs in the early stages of the disease.