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Celiac Disease in Later Life

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There is a growing recognition that celiac disease is more common than previously acknowledged. Many scientists believe that this gluten intolerance starts early in life. But Finnish researchers now suggest that some older people may actually develop celiac disease for the first time after middle age. They investigated 2,800 people over 55 and discovered that 2 percent of them had biopsy-confirmed celiac disease in 2002. Three years later, there were five new cases confirmed by biopsy. The scientists concluded that physicians should be vigilant for celiac disease developing later in life.

[BMC Gastroenterology, online June 29, 2009]
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-230X/9/49

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I have a friend who was just fine- could drink coffee, eat chocolate, etc. and was just past 70 years old. He/Wife went to visit kids in Mali, both got sick and came home ill.

His didn't clear up and finally discovered to have developed Celiac Disease. He has to be very careful but has learned to deal with it. I found it so odd that he was fine until then but it's definitely celiac disease now.

In reality, your friend probably had celiac disease for some time, even a long time before his illness. In treating for the illness, the celiac disease was discovered. It's true that an illness can trigger celiac disease in a person with the genetic disposition, however, it's doubtful that he would have progressed in such a short time to the point of villous atrophy which doctors currently require in order to be diagnosed with CD. CD is only one manifestation of gluten intolerance, there are many others, most of which are not digestive. You can be gluten intolerant, even with CD, and be without symptoms. More likely you have symptoms which are ignored, or not thought of in the concept of gluten intolerance.

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