The autoimmune mechanism that causes celiac disease might be at fault for some type of neuropathic disorders as well, according to Swedish researchers from Karolinska Institute, in Stockholm.
After conducting a study they concluded that there is a 2.5 greater risk of developing a neuropathy if you suffer from celiac disease. This is another proof of the underlying immunologic nature of the disease.
It is estimated that celiac disease also known as gluten intolerance, affects nearly 1% of the general population. However, the degree to which this immunologic disease affects the enteric system of a person can vary to a light sensitivity to a highly allergic reaction. The symptoms that a person develops influences greatly its chances of diagnoses. Many people who show only mild symptoms can go undiagnosed for decades.
In the past, there were many physicians who were convinced that celiac disease also caused extra-intestinal manifestations and many of those symptoms have been mentioned in medical books, but scientists said that there is no real cause – effect palpable.
Apart from intestinal symptoms, some of the most often complaints that patients suffering from celiac disease had, were numbness and tingling in the lower or upper limbs, sharp pains in their muscles or a lack of coordination. All these add up to a neurologic dysfunction.
Therefore, in order to determine what was the real risk of developing a neuropathy for patients suffering from celiac disease, scientists from Stockholm collected and examined data from 28,232 patients whose biopsies confirmed the existence of celiac disease. Their data us matched up against a control group of 139,473 individuals.
What they found was that people suffering from gluten intolerance had a 2.5 increased risk of developing a neuropathy. The risk was at its peak during the first year after the patient had been diagnosed with celiac disease.
This degree of risk was not altered by other factors in the life of the patient. Even after considering were the person was born, its education level or wealth and other disorders they might have such as diabetes, other autoimmune diseases, vitamin deficiencies or alcoholism, the 2.5 increased risk remained the same.
Scientists also revealed what types of neuropathies, patients suffering from celiac disease were likely to develop: Chronic inflammatory demyelinating neuropathy, Autonomic neuropathy and Mononeuritis multiplex.
Another interesting information, revealed by the study was that, those suffering from neuropathies had an increased risk of developing celiac disease.
This finding suggests that the two immunologically mediated diseases might share a common cause or mechanism and thus in the future, could be treated together.
Their recommendation was that every patient affected by neuropathies should be screened for celiac disease.
Celiac disease is treated mostly through a dietary approach, meaning that the patients are asked to eliminate gluten from their diet.
Following a proper diet, most patients can lead a normal life.
Image Source: dailyrx
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