The Emptying of a Celiac Patient’s WalletAnnmarie Rounds- SorensenWindsor Central School District AbstractCeliac disease is a complex,gastrointestinal (GI) disease that is triggered by the ingestion of gluten. Textbooksymptoms are exhaustion, GI pain, anxiety, and depression. Thyroid disease,thyroid cancer, intestinal cancer, and psychosis are the extreme consequencesof not abiding by a gluten free diet.
Eating gluten free has become trendy, sonaturally cereal companies have made it a priority to money gouge consumers. Patientswith Celiac have become collateral in the race to the top, and companies haveno regard for the consequences of making it near impossible for gluten freefood to be equally accessible as regular food. Inflated prices and limited availabilitymake it difficult for patients with Celiac to adhere to a strict gluten freediet. Taking advantage of people who cannot control their situation isunethical and has to stop.Keywords: Celiac, Artificial Sugar, Gluten Free,Capitalism, Anxiety, Depression, Thyroid DisorderThe Emptying of a Celiac Patient’s WalletYou’re just tired. Are yousleeping at night? You don’t drink enough water. Your course load is too heavy.
You need to take a load off. Do you really need to take time off for that? Whydo you have all these problems? Can’t you eat just a little gluten? OMG, myfriend’s sister has that and sometimes she eats a piece of pizza here andthere. Oh, you’ll grow out of it.
OMG, I would LOVE to go gluten free! I haveCeliac and I don’t eat gluten free, but how much damage can it really cause? Someone with an auto immune disease, like Celiac, is alltoo familiar with these questions and generalizations. Celiac is a violent autoimmune disease that destroys the gastrointestinal tract, causes mental healthissues, and empties a Celiac patient’s wallet. Cereal companies in the UnitedStates take advantage of the constant demand for gluten free products. Pricesare inflated for smaller portions with higher sugar and carbohydrate levels.Celiac patients cannot control that they have this disease and that there isonly one treatment, but they are exploited every time they walk into a grocerystore. The industrialization of food production has destroyed the integrity offood in the United States Celiac DiseaseCeliac Disease is an autoimmunedisease characterized by a patient’s intolerance to gluten containing proteinssuch as wheat, barley, and rye. Symptoms range from mild discomfort uponconsumption to extreme exhaustion, constipation, and thyroid disease (Brietzke, Cerqueira, Mansur, & McIntyre, 2018, p.
369). Celiac is an autoimmune disease that inflames the immune system when triggered. So along withgluten, patients are advised to avoid foods like eggs, dairy, and potatoes (Huan, et al., 2011, p. 74).Wheat based products are astaple in western diets because it’s cheap (Whelan & Singh, 2011, p. 479).
As is sugar andartificial sweeteners. Energy dense meals, meaning foods filled with sugar andgluten, are the main contributors to the obesity epidemic in the United States (Maioli, et al., 2016, p. 169).People flock towards zero calorie foods without realizing the damage it causes.T- Cells are a type of white blood cell that fights extreme infections.Proteins found in gluten and the artificial sugars penetrate the membrane ofthese T- Cells, killing them. These T- Cells are essential for preventing intestinalblunting, which is the atrophy of the intestinal villi.
This is the destructionof the part of our intestines that absorbs essential nutrients (Escudero-Herna?ndez, Plaza-Izurieta, Garrote, Ramo?n Bilbao, & Arranz, 2017, p. 73). This is why acommon symptom of undiagnosed Celiac patients is malabsorption that presents asexhaustion and extreme weight loss (Brietzke, Cerqueira, Mansur, & McIntyre, 2018, p. 369). The T- Cells arealso essential to reduce immune inflammation which causes joint pain (Huan, et al.
, 2011, p. 112).The only viable treatment forceliac disease is a gluten free diet (Margolskee, et al., 2013, p. 3).
When patients don’tabide by this treatment they risk complications like thyroid cancer, intestinallymphomas, and malnutrition (2013, p. 3). The risks growgreater the longer it is left untreated, and when patients have blood work doneshow now laboratory abnormalities despite being diagnosed with Celiac later (2013, p. 3).Patients are often misdiagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), or somaticmanifestations of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, depression, andanxiety (Brietzke, Cerqueira, Mansur, & McIntyre, 2018, p. 369).
And when patientsto eat gluten free experience exacerbated symptoms when they try to reintroducegluten to their diets (2018, p. 372). On the other sideof that, improvements were twice as fast when removing gluten when milk is alsoremoved dairy products. Despite the under diagnosis of Celiac, it has beendetermined that 1 in every 120-300 people have Celiac disease (Huan, et al., 2011, p.
112).Psychiatric LinksCeliac Disease has shown a that”immune-inflammatory mechanisms are involved in mood disorders andpathophysiology,” (Brietzke, Cerqueira, Mansur, & McIntyre, 2018, p. 371). The malabsorptionof nutrients leads to the depletion of monoamines like serotonin and dopaminein the brain (2018, p. 371).
This depletion alsocreates inexplicable, but crippling anxiety, in patients with Celiac (2018, p. 371). So, a patient with Celiac have ahigher risk for developing schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder, andbipolar depression than the general population (2018, p. 373).
These are textbookmanifestations of Celiac, but the medical community has found it easier toshell of the common symptom as completely unrelated (2018, p. 371). A study was done onschizophrenia reported in the Neuroscience and Behavioral Review (NBHR), and thisis where the conclusion that removing milk from the diet was found. It was alsodeduced that all of the patients who removed gluten from their diets were ableto be released to unlocked psychiatric facilities (2018, p. 368).
Also, patients whohave mental illnesses, but not Celiac, are predisposed to gluten intolerance (2018, p. 373). Such a seemingly minuscule part ofsomeone’s life is the cause of a debilitating and alienating mental disorder.Dementia, and strokes are common with patients who do not abide by theprescribed treatment as well (Alahmed, et al., 2017, p. 2786). Doctors are quick to dismisspatients with the hefty diagnosis of depression or schizophrenia.
These arediseases with heavy stigmas, but there is a solution to their problems that isignored. Thyroid Complications Thebiggest warning a patient with Celiac is given is that thyroid diseases likehypothyroidism and thyroid cancer are risk when a strict gluten free diet isn’tfollowed. 10.8% of patients who don’t eatgluten free test positive for malignant thyroid cancer (Sun, et al., 2016, p. 2).
And 21% of patientswith Celiac tested positive for potentially cancerous thyroid antibodies (2016, p. 2).The prescence of thyroid disease in patients with Celiac is 7% higher thanother asscociated diseases like Diabetes and Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (2016, p. 2).Hypothyroidism is also an autoimmune disease that is present in four-times morepeople with Celiac than not (2016, p. 9). T- Cells areproduced in the thyroid, so they carry the cancer that can grow in the thyroidand disseminate through the body (Margolskee, et al.
, 2013, p. 4). 3 cases of T- Celllymphomas were reported in a controlled study of 150 people with Celiacpublished in the Biological and Clinical Feature. These 3 patients did notabide by a gluten free diet, and they died at the hands of cancer that spreadfrom the thyroid to the intestines via T- Cells (2013, p. 4). This same cancercan form on the X chromosome in patients with Celiac, making women moresusceptible because they have two (2013, p.
4). Capital Gain Basedon this evidence, one may think that such a complex, and high-risk diseasewould be cheap to treat as the only treatment is a dietary one. If one thought that, they would be verywrong. For starters, companies like Pillsbury own smaller companies likeGeneral Mills, s so Pillsbury has a direct say in how General Mills producesfood. General Mills is a cereal company that in 2000 was worth 10.5 billiondollars to Pillsbury, and This is the value of their net profit (Sorkin, 2000, p. A17).In 2000, the price for one share in Pillsbury stock was 42.
55 dollars, wherethe general price for one share was 25 dollars (2000, p. A17). This is extremelyinflated, and after analysis, it doesn’t make sense.Companies like these makecopious amounts of money because they add gluten to their products to increasevolume and improve texture (Brietzke, Cerqueira, Mansur, & McIntyre, 2018, p. 368).
Also, according tothe NBHR, “Gluten is routinely added to sauces, processed meats, pastas, bakedgoods, noodles, breads, and pastries among others, and also to some drugfillers,” (2018, p. 370). It’s been reportedthat gluten free food is 516% more expensive, and 45% less available thanregular wheat based products (Whelan & Singh, 2011, p. 479). And another studydeduced that determining whether or not something is gluten free reduces thequality of life for people.
This is a seemingly small inconvenience, butreading through a label and being able to determine if you can eat somethingthat may or may not make you violently ill stops people from eating out, orexploring creative options (2011, p. 480). And furthermore,only 41% of store carry gluten free alternatives to traditionally wheat-basedproducts (2011, p.
481). A solution to this problem hasbeen developed in the United Kingdom. Healthcare providers prescribe glutenfree staples that patients can pick up at dispensaries (2011, p. 481). Gluten free food isonly 310% more expensive un the UK, and this is specifically for foods thathave replaced wheat flour with a substitution. Average products are notinflated (2011, p.
480). It is possible balancesupply and demand while maintaining a profitable business. Essentially, gluten is unnecessarily added tofood in the United States to peddle less of the actual product to consumers,but companies still make a profit. By this logic, selling gluten free foodwould be cheaper to manufacture and already has a high demand. It is senselessand irresponsible to exclude the population afflicted with Celiac Disease bymaking their only treatment fundamentally unattainable, especially for familiesliving in poverty. ConclusionsGluten free food is essentialfor maintaining good health for someone with Celiac, and is the only treatment.
The popularity of the food sparked the interest of cereal companies, and theyhave begun to take advantage of this community for profit. It has been provenover and over again that it is unnecessary for foods to be five times moreexpensive, for gluten to be added to foods, and for there to be limited accessto these products. It has been proven that gluten free food benefits not justphysical health, but mental health which is a growing problem in our society. It’sdetrimental to our population to reserve health foods for the upper class withno regard for those with Celiac and debilitating mental illnesses who struggleto stay gluten free and keep money in their wallets. Bibliography Alahmed, A.
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