Celiac disease can cause premature death if untreated - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/21/10

Celiac disease can cause premature death if untreated

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By Karin McCay| email

Edited by Kristin Beerman | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) –  Celiac disease is a mysterious problem with no cure, but a new study released today offers hope that researchers are finding more clues. They say they've identified proteins that trigger the gluten allergy typical of celiac disease. 

For patients like Jaime Decker that allergy means she has to take wheat, barley and rye off the menu. "Stabbing stomach pains to the point where you just want to crawl over," said Decker.

Dr. Joseph Murray of the Mayo Clinic says not knowing you have celiac disease can be a big problem because studies show going untreated significantly increases the risk of premature death. "Recent research tells us 2-3 million Americans are affected by celiac, a vast majority don't know," said Murry.

The most common symptoms of celiac disease are abdominal pain and diarrhea, but problems can range from fatigue to infertility.  So talk to your doctor if you think you might have celiac disease.  The best way to diagnose celiac is to get a biopsy of the small intestine, but a simple blood test can also flag the disease. 

Dr. Murray says the condition is more common in Caucasians and people with immune system disorders like type one diabetes.

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