September 8, 2016 – Celiac Update
Anchor lead: Who really has celiac disease and who doesn’t? Elizabeth Tracey reports
About 40% of people in the world may have a genetic predisposition to develop celiac disease, where they react to gluten in their diet, a recent study estimates, but nowhere near that many actually have the condition. That’s according to Theodore Bayliss, professor emeritus of gastroenterology at Johns Hopkins.
Bayliss: We now think that about 1%, one out of a hundred people have celiac disease. Those patients do very well on a gluten free diet, they avoid wheat, rye and oats. Gluten however is very tough to digest, so it’s very gassy, so I think many of the people who buy gluten free products really are avoiding gassiness. A lot of people with irritable bowel syndrome, they’ve very bothered by distention, gassiness and bloating, but I think most people are not really going to be bothered by gluten, it’s that it’s going to be gassy. :29
Bayliss says a blood test can help identify those with frank celiac disease, but says that if simply avoiding foods a person knows will cause a problem is working, it’s well worth continuing. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.