Celiac Disease in Children

Inside Look at Celiac Disease in Children

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and damage to the small intestine when a person consumes gluten-containing food.

Gluten, a term we hear about every day, is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. When an individual who is prone to celiac disease ingests gluten, the body mounts an immune response directed at the small intestine.

The result is inflammation and injury to the villi extremely tiny, finger-like projections in the lining of the small intestine that increase the surface area and promote absorption of nutrients. The damage to villi affects nutrient absorption and leads to a multitude of symptoms.

Who Develops Celiac Disease?

It seems like we can’t go to any restaurant or supermarket without seeing or hearing the term “gluten-free.” The phrase is synonymous now with healthy eating. But who really needs to go gluten-free? It’s those who have been diagnosed with celiac disease.

Celiac disease has been reported in children of all ethnicities, though the disease is relatively more common in those with Caucasian roots. It is believed about a third of the Caucasian population have genes that increase susceptibility to celiac disease. However, only 3 percent of those actually develop the condition.

An estimated 1 out of 100 people have celiac disease in the U.S. To develop the condition, one needs to have the genetic susceptibility, exposure to gluten and variations in the immune system that are controlled by other secondary susceptibility genes. In other words, it has to be the “perfect storm” scenario.

Celiac disease also has a hereditary component, which puts children who have first-degree relatives, such as parents or siblings, with celiac disease at higher risk for developing the disease.

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Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis Guide for Parents

Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis Guide for Parents

Chances are, you know one of the nearly 1 in 200 Americans who suffer from the debilitating pain and constant disruptions that come with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The physical and emotional toll it takes can be devastating. Inflammatory bowel diseases cause inflammation in the digestive and intestinal tract, and it can affect anyone men, women and children. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America was created to help those with IBD cope and to find a cure.

IBD: The basics

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two most common types of IBD. In ulcerative colitis, only the colon is affected; of the multiple layers of the intestinal wall, only the innermost lining of the colon, the mucosa, becomes inflamed in ulcerative colitis patients. Ulcerative colitis also spreads proximally, meaning it starts from the rectum and can spread continuously to the rest of the large intestine (colon).

Crohn’s disease, on the other hand, may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the lips to the anus. Unlike ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s can skip large segments of bowel before reappearing in others. The areas most often affected, however, are the lower part of the small intestine (ileum) and the large intestine (colon). Also, in Crohn’s patients, the inflammation doesn’t stop at the mucosa (tissue lining) and may burrow through the thickness of the bowel wall. Both are incurable, chronic conditions.

Read More: Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis: A Guide for Parents

Rob Hill at Ostomy camp and the Youth Rally

Rob Hill was busy in July volunteering at the Canadian Ostomy Youth Camp in Kananaskis, Alberta and the Youth Rally. These two camps provide an opportunity for children and youth in Canada and the USA who have had, or may have to have, bowel or bladder diversionary surgeries an opportunity to get together with other kids facing similar issues. Rob has been a long-time supporter of both events. Recently, Rob’s charitable organization, IDEAS, has got behind these events in a big way and found a way to build on them.

We wanted to find a way that would build on the valuable life skills these two camps offer their participants,” said Rob. “So we’ve provided scholarship opportunities for the Canadian camp kids, between the ages of 16 and 19, to attend a Counselor in Training program so they can learn to better mentor and move on to a staff/volunteer role at camp. We’ve also been able to coordinate a partnership with Youth Rally that allowed us to bring Carly Lindsay and Clinton Shard, both IBD Adventures Everest trek veterans to speak to the campers about their experiences living with inflammatory bowel disease and seeing the top of the world.

Read More: Ostomy camp and the Youth Rally