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What Triggers the Celiac Disease Gene?

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

Understanding the genetic triggers and life events that can activate Celiac Disease can be an eye opener. Celiac Disease, which results from an immune response to gluten, can be baffling, particularly when it develops later in life. In this blog post, I delve into the genetic factors and potential triggers that could lead to the activation of Celiac Disease.

Celiac Disease hinges on the presence of specific genes, HLADQ2 and HLADQ8, which play a pivotal role in developing this condition. These genes can be passed down from one or both parents, and once you have them, exposure to gluten can potentially trigger the immune response that people with Celiac Disease have. However, it's important to note that not everyone carrying these genes will develop the disease. Nearly 100% of people with Celiac disease carry one or both of these genes, yet only about 3% of the population carrying these genes actually develop the condition.

The genes associated with Celiac Disease can lay dormant and get triggered at any point in life, due to various factors. Personal life events such as childbirth or severe stress, global pandemics like COVID-19, and even surgeries can ignite the activation of Celiac Disease.

For instance, childbirth is a known trigger for Celiac Disease. This is what triggered my Celiac Disease. Prior to this I had no symptoms and I'm not alone in this as many other women report that they didn't experience any symptoms of the disease until after they gave birth. Initially I put my symptoms down to lack of sleep, the stress of returning to work when I wanted to be with with my baby and not having enough time for myself. But as time went on, there was no denying that something worse was at play.

Stressful situations such as the loss of a loved one or being involved in a car accident can also trigger the disease. Similarly, surgeries and other autoimmune diseases can activate Celiac Disease.

Interestingly, there's an emerging correlation between COVID-19 and Celiac Disease. Some individuals reported developing symptoms of Celiac Disease after contracting the virus. While more research is needed, these personal accounts provide valuable insights into potential triggers of the disease.

In children, the activation of Celiac Disease could potentially be triggered by the introduction of gluten at a young age. However, this remains an area of ongoing research.

Understanding the causes and triggers of Celiac Disease is a complex process. The genes that can cause Celiac Disease lie dormant until a certain event or factor triggers them. Identifying these triggers can help in managing and diagnosing the condition. For some, identifying the trigger can be clear, while for others, it may remain a mystery.

If you suspect you may have Celiac Disease, it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. Knowledge and awareness are powerful tools in managing any health condition, including Celiac Disease.

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