Gluten Intolerance in children

Middle-class children are TWICE as likely to be diagnosed with gluten intolerance than those from poorer backgrounds, study finds
Coeliac disease is autoimmune disorder triggered by foods with gluten
Nottingham University research shows one new case per 10,000 every year 
Disease among boys up by 39 per cent, as diagnoses double in girls 
By JENNY HOPE, MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL
 
The number of young children diagnosed with coeliac disease – where they react to gluten in food – has tripled in the last 20 years, say researchers.
But poorer children are only half as likely to be diagnosed with the condition as those from wealthier families.
The disease causes stomach pain and weight loss, and at its most serious can lead children to be malnourished.
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The number of children diagnosed with coeliac disease, where foods with gluten such as bread trigger bad reactions from the body's autoimmune system, has skyrocketed since 1993
Attacks are triggered by the body’s reaction to foods that contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye cereals.
Often mistaken for a food allergy or intolerance, coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease triggered by the immune system mistaking parts of the body as foreign.
For people with coeliac disease, this attack is triggered by gluten.
Once diagnosed with the condition, sufferers are advised to eat a gluten free diet for the rest of their lives.
As many as one in every hundred children in the UK have blood markers for the disorder, which can occur at any age. 
Researchers at Nottingham University have found a big increase in the number of children who have been diagnosed with the disease.
A UK database of health records identified all children from birth to the age of 18 registered with general practices between 1993 and 2012.
 
Sufferers of coeliac disease are advised not to eat any foods with gluten. Rates of disease rose 39 per cent in boys and doubled in girls since 1993
Among the total of 2,063,421 children, 1,247 had been diagnosed with coeliac disease during this period, corresponding to around 1 new case in every 10,000 children every year.
This case rate was similar across all four UK countries, and was 53 per cent higher among girls than among boys.
Between 1993 and 2012, diagnoses rose by 39 per cent in boys, but doubled in girls.
While the numbers of new cases in infants and toddlers remained fairly stable, diagnoses among children older than two years almost tripled in the space of 20 years.
They found that children from less well-off backgrounds were only half as likely to be diagnosed with the condition.
This pattern was evident for both boys and girls, and across all ages, says a report published online in Archives of Disease in Childhood.
The researchers said the rise in cases may be partly due to more sophisticated biopsies carried out today compared with GP-initiated tests in the 1990s, as well as better awareness.
But this does not explain the differences in diagnoses among children from different socioeconomic backgrounds, they say.
Lead researcher Dr Laila Tata, a public health specialist at City Hospital, Nottingham, said the ‘most plausible explanation’ was lower rates of diagnosis among those in deprived areas, rather than wealthier areas having a greater problem.

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