The Dangers of Cupcakes, it’s not just the sugar!
Dr. Corie Edwards
When we think of Celiac disease we often focus on the pain and suffering felt by our patients. Classic celiac disease symptoms can be severe, like diarrhea, gas and bloating. Less obvious symptoms can range from iron deficiency, fatigue, joint pain, dermatitis herpetiformis, osteopenia, liver and biliary tract disorders, anxiety, peripheral neuropathy, seizures or migraines, menstrual dysfunction, and infertility. Any practitioner know that one of the most difficult aspects to treating Celiac is not only watching patients struggle with these symptoms but also diagnosing in the most noninvasive way possible.
Many practitioners know a lot about treating Celiac but may not know much about the role of genetics in this disorder. People are more likely to develop Celiac Disease if they have a first degree relative with Celiac, if they have Downs, Turner or Williams syndrome, and individuals who suffer from an autoimmune disease already. So what is the message in a patients DNA that makes them more susceptible to developing Celiac?
Genes encoding the different components of the antigen presenting molecule major histocompatibility complex (MHC) can vary from person to person. A group of genes called human leukocyte antigen (HLA) complex tell the body how to make the MHC which will reside on the outside of certain immune cells. Some variations of the MHC molecules are more likely to present gluten as an antigen. Testing a patient’s genotype to see which variants of the HLA genes can tell a practitioner if there is an increased risk for developing this celiac. This test can predict an increased risk of up to 1 in 7 chance of developing Celiac depending on the patient’s genotype. In fact approximately 90% of CD patients present DQB1*02 and DQA1*05 alleles.
Genetic testing is the most noninvasive way to quickly predict a patient’s chance of developing Celiac disease and can be performed at birth. Kashi has recently updated the Celiac Report format for easier reading and patient friendly information.