Seek These Things

a blog discussing Celiac Disease, & the Gluten Free Diet, Books, Parenting, Politics, Religion, Pets, Product Reviews, and whatever else catches my interest

Second Generation Celiac Risk February 7, 2009

My husband C. was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when I was 3 months pregnant. Because the disposition for this illness runs in families, we wanted to do everything we could to keep our new baby healthy.

We learned 1 in 3 girls with a parent with CD is likely to develop the disease. Boys have a lower risk, for reasons unexplained in our research, only a 1 in 8 chance. ***

At-risk infants are 5 times more likely to develop CD if they are exposed to gluten before the first 4-6 months of life; however, if a child is not exposed to gluten before the end of 6 months of life, their risk increases again. (Danna Korn, Gluten Free for Dummies,  p.55, (2006))

A woman without CD does not need to follow a Gluten Free Diet during gestation to protect her fetus. Women with CD who do not follow a gluten free diet have a higher rate of infertility, miscarriage, and birth defects. (Danna Korn, Kids with Celiac Disease: A Family guide to raising Happy, Healty Gluten Free Kids, p. 156, (2001))

Mothers nursing an at-risk infant should follow the Gluten Free Diet. My pediatrician explained if a nursing mother is accidentally exposed to a small amount gluten, it should not pose a risk to a nursing infant. Gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, is coated before it is excreted in the breast milk. This coating should protect the nursing infant. Also, gluten is a large protein that normally cannot get from the intestine to the blood stream. A protein called zonulin, found in higher levels in people with CD, binds to key receptors in the intestine and opens the passage extra wide for the gluten to get through. (Danna Korn, Kids with Celiac Disease: A Family guide to raising Happy, Healthy Gluten Free Kids, p. 157, (2001))

If your baby eats formula, exclusively or in addition to breast milk, at this time both the Similac and Enfamil formulas are gluten-free. The Walmart brand formula is not GF. If you have questions, always call the number on the packaging from your cell phone.

Better education leads to a better life. Good luck raising your at-risk child.

*** I still have not been able to find the exact reference to this statistic yet. Here is what I have found:

  • If one of your children has Celiac Disease, the likelihood of another child having it is 30%. (Danna Korn, Kids with Celiac Disease: A Family guide to raising Happy, Healthy Gluten Free Kids, p. 143, (2001))
  • Up to 30% of people with the genes for CD, do not have CD; the other 70% do, whether they are diagnosed or not. (Danna Korn, Kids with Celiac Disease: A Family guide to raising Happy, Healthy Gluten Free Kids, p. 148, (2001))
  • Up to 30% of first degree relatives (parent, sibling, child) of a person with CD have CD. Although they may be asymptomatic, the damage is still being done. It is very common that they will resist if not flat out refuse to be tested. (Danna Korn, Kids with Celiac Disease: A Family guide to raising Happy, Healthy Gluten Free Kids, p. 152, (2001))
  • CD affects females about 3 times more often than males. ((Danna Korn, Kids with Celiac Disease: A Family guide to raising Happy, Healthy Gluten Free Kids, p. 7, (2001))
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2 Responses to “Second Generation Celiac Risk”

  1. Where did you find the stat about 1 in 3 girls with a parent of CD. I have never seen that before. This is the stat I always see – “the prevalence of celiac disease in children of celiac patients is approximately 15%”. There is also the 1 in 22 stat. http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/celiacdiseasefaqs/f/FAQ-FamilyRisk.htm

  2. seekthesethings Says:

    Hi Maryland Celiac, the statistics I quoted are from the books Living Gluten-Free for Dummies (2006)and Kids with Celiac Disease (2001), both by Danna Korn. I have added sourses to my original post. I hope they help you in your research. It looks like the link you provided lumps the stats of a person with a parent, sibling, or child with celiac all together and does not account for the diference between the genetic relationships or the gender of the at-risk individual. Thanks for the link!


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