Increasing Prevalence of Celiac Disease in the Elderly
A recent study in the journal BMC Gastroenterology found that the incidence of celiac disease increases in the elderly population when individuals are subjected to additional screening. The study pointed out that individuals who previously tested negative for celiac disease, could test positive if they were subjected to future lab screening tests and intestinal biopsies.
Remember that celiac disease is a subset of gluten intolerance. The biggest flaw in recognizing gluten sensitivity lies in the diagnostic testing that is most commonly used. The focus is only on identifying celiac disease. The current gold standard for testing is the biopsy coupled with serum antibody tests. However; these screening tests often times yield false normal results. The results of this study prove that point yet again. Many of the study participants were previously screened and the tests were negative. Yet upon further testing the results came back positive.
Bottom line: Gluten sensitivity causes celiac disease. One can be gluten sensitive and not have celiac disease (yet or ever). If our diagnostic lab tests focus on identifying celiac disease, we will miss those who are gluten sensitive without celiac disease most of the time. HLA-DQ testing is the new gold standard for identifying gluten sensitivity.
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