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Indigenous Populations, Celiac Disease and NCGS EP067

‘Globally, indigenous peoples suffer from poorer health, are more likely to experience disability and reduced quality of life, and ultimately die younger than their non-indigenous counterparts.’

A UN Report on the health of indigenous peoples points to a significant problem, but the question is WHY? Why are native populations more prone to autoimmune disorders and type 1 diabetes? Why do they have a higher incidence of alcoholism and drug addiction? And why the lower life expectancy?

The Gluten Free RN is exploring the role of food in health outcomes for indigenous populations around the world. She begins with an explanation of the dietary differences between hunter-gatherer and agricultural societies, discussing how native populations were exposed to the gluten in grains only when European conquerors came to occupy their lands.

Nadine shares her challenge in finding information about indigenous populations and celiac disease, explaining why further study is necessary. She speaks to the highly processed nature of the commodity foods provided to Native Americans in the US and the shortcomings of Canada’s Food Guide when it comes to the health of First Nations people. Listen in and learn the significance of educating indigenous populations around celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, empowering those groups to make choices that will improve their health and quality of life!

What’s Discussed:

The global indigenous population

  • 370M in 70-plus countries
  • Rich diversity of cultures

The health status of indigenous populations

  • Higher incidence of autoimmune disorders, T1D
  • Higher prevalence of addictive disorders, cardiovascular disease
  • Lower life expectancy, increased morbidity/mortality

Why indigenous populations have more health issues

  • Access to health care, isolation and lifestyle
  • Food (hunter-gatherer vs. agricultural society)

The lack of information around indigenous populations and celiac disease

  • Very few studies available

The impact of grains on the native population

  • Significant change in health care outcomes, quality of life

The prevalence of celiac disease in indigenous populations

  • At least 1%, likely 3% or higher
  • No way to know without mass screening

Why eating healthy is a challenge for the indigenous population

  • Food scarcity, desserts
  • Reliance on commodity foods provided by government

The conclusions of the Prairie Nymph blog on Canada’s Food Guide

  • Based on diet of European origins, doesn’t mention celiac disease
  • Ignores health benefits of traditional diet for First Nations people

Why it’s important to educate indigenous people around celiac disease

  • Empower to make food choices with better health outcomes

Resources:

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jaren M. Diamond

Dough Nation by Nadine Grzeskowiak

USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program

‘Canada’s Food Guide and Native Women’ by Prairie Nymph

The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman

American Indian and Alaska Native Health

‘Celiac Disease: A Disorder Emerging from Antiquity, Its Evolving Classification and Risk, and Potential New Treatment Paradigms’ in Gut Liver

‘Celiac Disease: A Life-Changing Diagnosis’ in Indian Country Today

‘Government Food Boxes? It’s Nothing New for Native Americans’ on WDET

UN Indigenous Peoples Fact Sheet

‘Many Native Americans Lack Access to Healthy Food, But There’s a Growing Movement to Change That’ in Grist

‘Characteristics and Factors Related to Quality of Life in Mexican Mestizo Patients with Celiac Disease’ in BMC Gastroenterology

Summary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

WHO Health of Indigenous Peoples

WHO Indigenous Peoples and Substance Abuse

Connect with Nadine:

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Facebook

Contact via Email

‘Your Skin on Gluten’ on YouTube

Melodies of the Danube Gluten-Free Cruise with Nadine

Books by Nadine:

Dough Nation: A Nurse’s Memoir of Celiac Disease from Missed Diagnosis to Food and Heal

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Celiac Disease for Nurses EP056

Celiac disease is messy. It can develop at any age, in any ethnicity, in both men and women, with any symptom or no symptom at all. Every patient is different, and each one presents differently. There is nothing cut and dried about celiac disease, except that a 100% gluten-free diet is necessary for healing.

Nurses are in a unique position to make sense of this chaos and advocate for patients, recognizing possible celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity and recommending appropriate testing when necessary. Today, the Gluten Free RN covers the basics of celiac disease for nurses, explaining the frequency with which the disorder is misdiagnosed or goes undiagnosed for years.  She walks us through the testing required for a diagnosis of celiac disease proper, who should undergo testing, and why one negative test doesn’t rule out the disease.

Nadine speaks to the 300-plus signs of celiac disease, reviewing the most common symptoms and the overlap between celiac disease and autoimmune disorders like type 1 diabetes. She also shares the discouraging statistics around the impact of undiagnosed celiac disease on fetal development and maternal health. Listen in to understand why Nadine encourages fellow nurses include celiac disease as part of their differential diagnosis, providing gluten-sensitive patients with a safe, gluten-free environment and a higher quality of life!

What’s Discussed: 

The frequency with which celiac disease is misdiagnosed or goes undiagnosed

  • 94% of people with celiac disease are undiagnosed
  • Current estimate is 3% of US population
  • Takes average of 9-15 years for diagnosis

 The challenges around getting a diagnosis of celiac disease proper

  • Requires genetic test, celiac antibody test and documented villous atrophy
  • Celiac antibody test = 70% false negative in US

 The chronic nature of celiac disease

  • Patients must go 100% gluten-free for life

 The 300-plus signs and symptoms of celiac disease

  • Primarily a neurological disorder

 Why celiac patients must be tested for potential nutritional deficiencies

  • May need B12, Mg RBC, D3, Zn or I supplements

 The detrimental impact of undiagnosed celiac disease on fetal development, maternal health

  • 800-900% increase in miscarriage
  • Increased risk of stillbirth, premature birth and neural defects

 Where gluten is hiding

  • Medications, personal care products and food items

 Who should be tested for celiac disease

  • Patients with mental health issues, developmental delays
  • Anyone with an autoimmune disorder (e.g.: type 1 diabetes)
  • Family members of celiac patients

 Why one negative test doesn’t rule out celiac disease

  • Can seroconvert at any time

 How a gluten-free diet can benefit children with stunted growth

  • Growth resumes if diagnosed before epiphyseal plates seal

Resources:

Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity for Nurses

Recommended Labs

Recognizing Celiac Disease: Signs, Symptoms, Associated Disorders & Complications by Cleo J. Libonati

Gluten Free Works

PubMed

Cyrex Labs

Connect with Nadine:

Instagram

Facebook

Contact via Email

‘Your Skin on Gluten’ on YouTube

Melodies of the Danube Gluten-Free Cruise with Nadine

Books by Nadine:

Dough Nation: A Nurse’s Memoir of Celiac Disease from Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism