Coeliac disease is an immune system driven condition located in the small intestine which is triggered by the ingestion of gluten. In addition to wheat other foods with similar proteins may have to be avoided such as secalin found in rye and avenin found in oats.
While many people carry the genes which appear to increase the risk of developing coeliac genes alone are not diagnostic. Even though 92-95% of coeliacs have the HLA-DQ2 gene only 2% of the general population with this gene will actually then go on to develop coeliac disease. As is often said, the genes may load the gun but it’s the environment that pull the trigger.
It’s incidence has risen over 400% since the 1940s and may be attributed to a combination of;
- Changes in infant feeding practices
- Shortened duration of breastfeeding
- Introduction of gluten before 4 months of age (this has 500% increased risk of developing the conditions)
- Increased frequency of C-section births
- Alterations in GIT microflora