Down Syndrome and Celiac Disease

People with celiac disease are more likely to have other diseases in which the autoimmune system attacks the body’s healthy cells and tissues. There are also some conditions that make people much more likely to have celiac disease. One is European ancestry. Also, if a close relative (parent, sibling, child) has it, there’s a 1 in 22 chance that you do too. The least obvious predictor is Down Syndrome. Up to 16% of people with Down Syndrome also have celiac disease. Celiac disease can show few to no symptoms in children with Down Syndrome, but if left undiagnosed and untreated, malnutrition, stunting, or lymphoma can result. Doctors, however, are divided about the best age for CD screening (some says 2 to 3 years) and whether it is cost-effective.

All you need to know? If your child has Down Syndrome, you might want to make sure they don’t have Celiac disease also by taking them in for a blood test. The blood test determines if you should check further for celiac disease with the more expensive and difficult biopsy of the small bowel.

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