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Will My Daughter Develop Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Like I Did?


Question:

I have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. What are the chances that my 15-year-old daughter might develop this as well? No sure signs are noticeable right now, but I want to be prepared if there is a chance. Thank you for your help.

From,

Jennifer

Answer:

Dear Jennifer,

This is an excellent question, and the answer depends on the diagnosis. If you have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder with a genetic foundation, and the diagnosis has been confirmed by blood tests and biopsies of the intestine, there is certainly a risk that your daughter could develop the disease. It is estimated that 1 out of every 133 people in the U.S. is affected with celiac disease.  However, this increases to approximately 1 out of 22 in people who have a first-degree relative with celiac disease (parent, sibling, or child). 

As you know, there are also people who are sensitive to gluten but who do not have celiac disease based on intestinal biopsies.  Patients who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity experience gastrointestinal symptoms with ingestion of gluten.  However, the reason that this occurs is currently unknown. 

Unlike in celiac disease, where patients possess susceptibility genes (HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8), a recent study suggested that patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity are not more likely to possess these genes than people in the general population. Because a genetic basis for non-celiac gluten sensitivity has not been identified, it is unclear whether or not first-degree relatives of patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity are at greater risk of developing the disorder.

Sincerely,

Center for Celiac Disease at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

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