Much existing propaganda claims that African Americans do not suffer from celiac disease. Even the Gluten Free RN was surprised to find out that her adopted daughter had a genetic predisposition to the disease back in 2006, as research available at the time regarded the HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes to be primarily Caucasian traits. And until we take steps to conduct a mass screening, we simply don’t know how common celiac disease is among people of African descent.
Today, the Gluten Free RN is exploring celiac disease in the African American population. She covers a 2006 study out of Columbia University that assessed African American celiac patients, discussing the variety of ways the subjects presented with celiac disease and the potential reasons for their poor compliance with the prescribed gluten-free diet.
Nadine also considers the prevalence of celiac disease on the continent of Africa, explaining why she believes the number of celiac patients will explode with the population’s growing exposure to wheat. Listen in for the Gluten Free RN’s insight on other health issues that may point to undiagnosed celiac disease and learn how we can prevent celiac disease among the African American population with access to testing, social support and gluten-free food!
The 2006 Columbia University study of celiac disease in African Americans
- Identified nine patients with biopsy-proven celiac disease
- Presented with diarrhea, iron deficiency anemia and autoimmune disorders
Why patients in the Columbia study demonstrated poor dietary compliance
- Expense, availability and palatability of gluten-free food
- Lack of symptoms at diagnosis, inaccurate dietary information
Nadine’s prediction around the number of celiac patients in Africa
- Increasing exposure to wheat will cause explosion
The statistics regarding the mortality burden of celiac disease
- Science Daily reported estimates of 42K child deaths every year in 2011
- Majority from Africa and Asia
The overlap between diabetes and celiac disease
- Every type 1 diabetic is HLA-DQ2/8 gene carrier
The health issues that may indicate undiagnosed celiac disease
- Type 1 diabetes, cardiac issues, stroke and heart attack
- Obesity (stems from lack of nutrient absorption)
How to prevent celiac disease among the African American population
- Access to testing, social support and gluten-free food