Does Celiac Disease Occur in the Elderly?

By 9  am on

Celiac disease isn’t a deadly health condition, but it can impact quality of life. Those who have this disease are extremely sensitive to gluten, and they often experience a wide array of symptoms when they consume any gluten-based products. While celiac disease is often thought of as a condition an individual is born with, some studies have revealed older adults can develop a gluten intolerance later in life. 

Elderly-Onset Celiac Disease

When a person develops this condition in the senior years, it’s typically referred to as elderly-onset celiac disease. This particular form of celiac disease is relatively rare, but some experts believe it affects around one percent of the senior population. However, doctors still aren’t exactly sure what causes elderly-onset celiac disease. Many believe seniors can develop celiac disease when their gut biomes change, which can be caused by viral infections, invasive procedures, and certain medications.

Older adults with celiac disease may need help adjusting their eating habits to manage the condition. Homecare agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

Diagnosing Celiac Disease

Even though celiac disease has been studied for decades, doctors rarely tested for this condition in the past. Many people believed they had other gastrointestinal issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It’s also important to note that celiac disease seems to be on a spectrum, and some people only experience minor problems, such as bloating or an upset stomach, after consuming gluten. A relatively mild case of celiac disease is sometimes referred to as gluten intolerance, and many people live with the condition for decades without realizing it. 

Signs of Celiac Disease

Elderly-onset celiac disease can produce a wide array of unusual symptoms, and some of those early warning signs are difficult to track. The most common symptom of this condition is gastrointestinal distress. Seniors who have this disease may constantly feel as if they have mild stomachaches because they’re consuming gluten every day. In severe cases, elderly-onset celiac disease may cause life-altering health complications, such as sudden weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, and extreme nausea.

Digestive issues can be especially problematic for aging adults. Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Opelika seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Blood Tests & Treatment Options

To be diagnosed with celiac disease, seniors need to have one or two blood tests. After extracting a small sample of blood, the doctor will look for specific antibodies that are only made when someone has this disease. These screenings are very easy to carry out, and seniors who have gastrointestinal issues should consider speaking with their doctors about blood analysis tests. 

For those who are diagnosed with celiac disease, the best treatment option is sticking to a gluten-free diet. Luckily, thousands of companies around the world are now producing delicious gluten-free foods. Many restaurants also offer gluten-free options to those who have celiac disease or any other issues with gluten. 

Professional caregivers with training in nutrition and healthy habits can be a wonderful source of information and support for seniors who have celiac disease or are trying to prevent it. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. Opelika families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. Schedule a free in-home consultation by giving us a call today at (334) 744-7100.


    Request Free Information or
    Schedule a Free in-Home Consultation