Healthy Living

Are Blood Transfusions and Celiac Disease Related?

Are Blood Transfusions and Celiac Disease Related?

Celiac disease is a dangerous autoimmune disease that is triggered by the consumption of foods that have gluten, which is commonly found in wheat, barley and rye; when people with celiac disease consume foods with gluten, a reaction is triggered that forces the immune system to respond by damaging the villi of the small intestine which consequently causes the body to be unable to absorb minerals and nutrients into the bloodstream.

In moderate cases, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue and minor anemia can occur while in advanced cases, other immune damage, cancer and even death is a likelihood if left untreated. Owing to the fact that blood transfusions can cause agglutinations, transfer of viral, bacterial and many other infections, there has been widespread panic on the possibility of a blood transfusion being responsible for transferring celiac diseases and gluten sensitivities from the donor to the acceptor.

Blood transfusions

The concept behind blood transfusions is quite simple; some volume of blood is extracted from a volunteer (the donor) and passed into the blood stream of the recipient. There are a number of reasons and complications that can be associated with blood transfusion. One may need a blood transfusion for some of these reasons:

  • To replace lost volumes of blood after a patient has undergone surgery, childbirth or involved in a fatal accident
  • For the treatment of anemia after basic levels of treatment including dieting has been tried. Anemia is the condition resulting from low levels of red blood cells in the body
  • For correction and treatment of inherited blood disorders such as the sickle cell anemia or thalassemia.

Before any type of blood transfusion is done, a proper screening of the blood sample to be passed to the recipient from the blood bank or from a donor must be carried out to determine safety and match. Blood comes with a variety of groups and mismatching these groups by transfusing the wrong match will lead to agglutination of the recipient’s blood and ultimately, death. Even when blood groups match, another screening for parasitic and viral infections must also be done to guarantee that the recipient is not infected by the donor. The whole procedure is done with the use of a plastic tube that is inserted into the vein of the donor’s arm to obtain a specific volume of blood. The volume involved determines the time frame for the procedure, but a unit of red blood cells will take 2-3 hours while a unit of blood plasma or platelets will take half to an hour.

During blood transfusion, pathogens and infections that are already present on the donor’s DNA and blood samples enter the bloodstream of the recipient and as such, tests are also run post-transfusion for:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Human Immune Virus (HIVS) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Syphilis
  • HTLV – Human T-cell Lymphotropic virus – This is usually rare but is a potentially serious virus if discovered. The virus can cause a fatal type of leukemia in some people

By default, blood transfusion is a fairly safe process as long as all tests have been carried out and results evaluated properly.

Celiac disease and blood

On the issue of blood and celiac disease, there are quite a few relationships, but these complications have been widely disassociated with transfusions. celiac disease connect to blood in the aspects of anemia and is a common systemic defect that can have a series of hematologic manifestations.

Patients and sufferers of celiac disease may also be challenged with multiple hematologic problems before being diagnosed of their celiac diseases. Anemia is a key symptom and is chiefly due to the malfunction of the system in absorption of folic acid, iron and / or Vitamin B12, and the case is a common complication as most patients have been found to have anemia during their time of celiac disease diagnosis.

Thromcocytosis, Thrombocytopenia, Venous thromboembolism, leukopenia, IgA deficiency and hyposplenism have all be associated with celiac diseases and patients with celiac diseases are at higher risks of diagnosis with T-cell type lymphoma. Higher risks exist for enteropathy-type of T-cell lymphomas (ETL) and B-cell type gut lymphoma, and in some cases extra intestinal lymphoma may be present. While ETL is a very aggressive disease, it meets very poor diagnosis and symptoms aren’t readily identified. For most sufferers, a strict compliance with the prepared gluten-free diet may be instrumental to prevent its occurrence and aggravation.

Is celiac disease transferable by blood transfusion? 

Blood interactions either through cuts, sexual intercourse, equipment sharing or transfusion are arguably the shortest means of transfer of viral, bacterial and other pathological infections. There have been a handful of complications experience with the process over the years, but the advancement in medicine has led to a laudable handling after discoveries of the causes and effects of the complications in blood transfusions.

Celiac disease are immune system malfunctions triggered by the protein of wheat, rye and barley, gluten. The ailment has no cure and has been well related to anemia and other blood cell complications, and has since raised the question of inheritance through blood transfusions.

Researchers have shown that there is no relationship between celiac disease and blood transfusion and celiac disease is not transferrable by transfusing blood from a gluten-sensitive patient with celiac disease to a normal and health patient; there may be few side effects following blood transfusions, but these aren’t related to the celiac disease. Celiac disease has nothing to do with pathogens and infections, and only infectious diseases are transferrable through blood transfusions. There is also no scientific evidence that supports these theories as well.

Currently, there is no cure for celiac disease, but what has worked for most people with the disorder has been the compliance and adherence to a strict gluten-free diet in order to aid intestinal healing and manage the symptoms of celiac disease. This means doing away with all foods that contain the gluten protein such as wheat, barley and rye-based foods, people with celiac disease should look out for gluten free labels on packaged foods before purchase and consumption to prevent controllable and avoidable complications that can have adverse effects on their health.