Celiac Condition's Impact on Growth and Treatment

Every medical condition reacts with a patient differently due to the diversity found within the human body. The amount of medical conditions available to the society of medicine is large, creating more oddities or unexpected side effects. Some medical conditions can influence the brain chemistry of an individual, while other diseases have physical effects outside of their generalized symptoms. For instance, “girls diagnosed with celiac disease tend to be slightly shorter than their peers and boys to be underweight, but the size differences are not significant or concerning, Israeli researchers say”.

These size differences are very subjective due to the lack of clarity provided by celiac disease.

This disease is common, but the medical world is constantly evolving and learning new principles concerning disease care. To achieve a greater overview of the situation, “a study of more than 2 million teens who underwent medical exams over nearly two decades also found that celiac is being diagnosed more often now than in the past”.

As more information about celiac disease is generated, more issues coinciding with celiac disease are brought to the public’s attention. Celiac disease is a condition that effects the eating habits of those that have developed the condition, so an individual’s growth may become a variable as a result of the disease. To understand the situation further, the celiac condition itself must be examined.

What is Celiac Disease?

In the world of medicine, the amount of medical conditions that effect the nutritional levels of an individual is vast.

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Normally, the human body can withstand the natural elements of the world. However, genetic disorders and the transformation of one’s body over time can influence the dietary structure of a healthy individual. With that being said, “celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food.” The body requires nutrients if it is going to function properly and not shutdown from malnutrition. Despite this necessity, the body has the innate ability to confuse itself while taking in these nutrients. Specifically, celiac disease effects the body’s ability to absorb wheat and gluten related food products.

To be clear, “people with CD must avoid gluten, a protein in wheat, rye and barley. Without following the proper diet, CD can lead to complications such as malnutrition, low bone density, lactose intolerance and infertility.” Malnutrition is a condition in which the body does not receive the beneficial nutrients found within consumables. Low bone density is also a side effect of malnutrition among other nutrition related illnesses. The combination of malnutrition and low bone density will have some harmful effects on the human body. This leaves room for more questions, such as the question of why teenagers with celiac disease are shorter than their healthy counterparts.

Why Are These Teens Shorter Than Their Peers?

Early development is the most fundamental portion of a child’s life, making everything that these children come in contact with vital to their adult lives. Some children are born with conditions that leave them unable to conduct the most essential of bodily functions. Celiac disease does in fact effect the physical components of an individual’s digestive system, but there is still some uncertainty as to how this condition effects one’s growth. To explain the situation further, “the new study ultimately clarifies that regardless of gluten-free diet adherence, body measurements at late adolescence including final height are only marginally affected.”

Apparently, the elimination of gluten from one’s diet does aide in an individual’s overall health, but it does not directly effect the growth of an individual. Research indicates that malnutrition is what attacks an individual’s health more so than a dietary condition such as celiac disease. Furthermore, “these findings are somewhat surprising as clinicians are under the notion that children with celiac are significantly thinner and shorter.” The researchers initially believed that celiac disease was responsible for stunting the growth of an individual, but this was not entirely the case. The research conducted did take every aspect of a human’s life into consideration, leaving gaps in the research as a whole.

The researchers, “after accounting for other factors like ethnic origin and socioeconomic status, however, the differences among girls were no longer apparent and only boys with CD were found to be significantly smaller than boys without CD, according to the report in Archives of Disease in Childhood.” Boys are required to eat more than women due to the larger muscular structure of their gender. Celiac disease prevents individuals from eating specific foods, and in some instances the nutritional value from these foods cannot be obtained easily. On a more definitive note, both celiac disease and malnutrition can be treated with the right amount of care.

How Can This Be Treated?

Celiac disease can be fatal, but only after this condition is left untreated for long periods of time. Contrary to popular belief, “celiac disease is relatively easy to treat as gluten free products are nowadays abundant.” In regards to children, creating a steady diet is the responsibility of the parent. For children with celiac disease, it is up to the parent to teach their child about their condition and how much food plays a role in their development. To expand on that statement, “a child on a strict gluten free diet is, in fact, healthy and should have a normal life.” The body may not receive the helpful elements found within gluten, but in some areas, this deficiency can be replaced.

Modern medicine has created many alternatives to the nutrients found within natural foods. For example, dietary supplements and vitamins are widely available to the masses. In fact, some facets of modern society have grown dependent on these supplements. On another note, researchers state that “during the first few years following CD diagnosis a child should be evaluated for nutrient deficiencies like iron, vitamin D, zinc and others, which can be supplemented if necessary”. Supplements can be beneficial when used properly, but these vitamins and healthy minerals do not have the ability to replace quality foods. Celiac disease is destructive, but this condition is only harmful when provoked and aggravated. To avoid the effects of celiac disease, gluten must be avoided.

There are several factors that determine who can develop a health condition and who is safe from contacting one. Overall, celiac disease is more genetic than anything else, making it difficult for an individual to develop unless it is found within their DNA. Furthermore, “researchers also found that youth of “Western origin” were more likely than others to have celiac disease, which is in line with findings that people of European descent are more prone to the condition.” Geography plays a large part in how one’s genes are spread. The western world has created several eating habits for itself, as well as several dietary conditions.

As far as celiac disease goes, “poor growth has been attributed to severe damage to the small intestine absorptive surface leading to malabsorption of essential nutrients, but other factors may be involved.” These factors are not always prevalent, making them difficult to detect in some cases. This can cause many individuals to slip through the cracks of modern medicine.

In regards to celiac disease in children, the individuals who “have been undiagnosed for a while with nutritional deficiencies that could have retarded their growth before getting diagnosed.” When left undiagnosed, celiac disease can have some extremely negative effects on an individual. One of these effects can be malnutrition, causing the growth of a child to be stunted or held back. However, with the right amount of care, none of these issues can be linked.

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Celiac Condition's Impact on Growth and Treatment. (2023, Jan 07). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/understanding-the-celiac-condition-its-effects-on-the-growth-and-treatment-of-the-disease/

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