A new study out of Sweden confirms that asthma is a risk for Celiac disease and visa versa. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the lungs characterized by bouts of wheezing and or coughing symptoms with difficulty getting your breath. It can be fatal. It is increasing in incidence. It has genetic risk factors as well as environmental triggers, especially allergies. It is probably another form of an autoimmune disease triggered in genetically susceptible individuals.
Professionally, I have several patients and colleagues with asthma who have Celiac. This includes a pediatrician who also suffers from broncholitis obliterans with organizing pneumonia also known as BOOP and a pulmonary critical care specialist with gluten sensitivity. They have both shared with me that they are convinced of a link between Celiac or gluten and lung disease.
Celiac and gluten have been linked to other chronic lung diseases, such as Sarcoidosis and lymphocytic bronchoalveolitis. Ron Hoggan,Ed.D, co-author of “Cereal Killers-Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free A to Z” in which I have several chapters, writes on this topic and his personal experience with lung disease as a Celiac.
Regarding possible reasons for the link, Dr. Ludvigsson postulated besides common genetics and immunity that may be low levels of Vitamin D may play a role. Vitamin D deficiency is seen in both conditions. Vitamin D ingestion has been advocated by some because of anti-inflammatory benefits but no specific recommendations can or have been made for Vitamin D supplementation in when levels are normal.
This study confirms Celiac disease and gluten sensitive can be linked to asthma and visa versa. It validates the experience of many people, most of whom were told by well-meaning physicians that there was no link between asthma and Celiac or gluten.If you have asthma, get screened for Celiac disease. If you have Celiac disease and have breathing symptoms get an evaluation. If your health care provider discounts any link share with them this blog, the original article, lead author J. Ludvigsson, in the Journal of Allergy and Immunology 2011.