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Celiac disease - an underestimated and often wrongly downplayed mistress of hide-and-seek, with about 380,000 people in Poland suffering from it

MedExpress Team

medexpress.pl

Published May 14, 2024 07:41

Celiac disease - an underestimated and often wrongly downplayed mistress of hide-and-seek, with about 380,000 people in Poland suffering from it - Header image
Although it has been known for 2,000 years and is more common than breast or lung cancer, it remains one of the most elusive and most common chronic autoimmune diseases with a genetic basis. Undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to disorders of virtually every system in the body: osteoporosis, anemia, fertility problems, cancers of the esophagus, throat or small intestine.


According to estimates, based on European epidemiological data, about 380,000 people in Poland may suffer from celiac disease. The majority, as many as 90-95%, unfortunately do not know about it. Those who do know face discrimination in many aspects of social life. On May 16, Poland will celebrate International Celiac Disease Day. This is an ideal opportunity to raise awareness and show support for those struggling with the condition. - Contrary to popular belief, a gluten-free diet is not a weight-loss diet, a fad or a fashionable lifestyle. A strict gluten-free diet for life is currently the only possible treatment for celiac disease. Lack of public knowledge about the symptoms and consequences of celiac disease results in patients who are on a gluten-free diet being treated as people who have decided on their diet by choice. Meanwhile, for celiacs, it is not a choice but a necessity, and for life. It is time for public awareness of celiac disease to increase," points out Malgorzata Źródlak, president of the Polish Association of People with Celiac Disease and on a Gluten-Free Diet.

Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune systemic disease with a genetic basis, in which, due to the consumption of gluten, there is an abnormal reaction of the immune system and, as a result, damage to the villi of the small intestine. - In celiac disease, as a result of the body's reaction to gluten, there is an immunological destruction of the intestinal villi responsible for absorption, explains Piotr Dziechciarz, MD, WUM professor, chairman of the Celiac Section of the Polish Society of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Child Nutrition. - This results in nutrient malabsorption and a variety of clinical symptoms, he adds. Celiac disease can occur at any age and does not always manifest with gastrointestinal symptoms (such as abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, bloating or constipation), making it very difficult to diagnose.

- The symptoms of celiac disease can vary widely. Often, the main symptoms of celiac disease are...

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