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Doctors Recommend Pneumonia Vaccine to Celiac Disease Patients

Doctors Recommend Pneumonia Vaccine to Celiac Disease Patients

Disorders in the immune system can cause abnormally high or low activity of the immune system. It is also known that celiac disease is an autoimmune condition. This disease is a severe genetic condition. It means that the antibodies start attacking the body instead of fighting off infections such as pneumonia. This happens when the disease is left undiagnosed.

A U.K study suggests that seniors should be vaccinated against pneumonia, and that anyone with celiac disease irrespective of age should exercise precaution. The team that conducted the study also wrote a journal (Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics), stating that although they are at higher risk of developing pneumonia, only about 25% of celiac patients go for the vaccine when they are diagnosed.

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When assessing the link between celiac disease and pneumonia, researchers analyzed the data that was collected between 1997 and 2011. The data was collected on English patients. They also included 9,803 celiac patients and 101,755 people without the disease as a comparison group. In general, the rate of developing pneumonia was the same for those with and without the disease. The rate for those with celiac disease stood at 3.42 per 1,000 people in every year while the rate for those without celiac disease stood at 3.12 per 1,000 people.

Vaccination benefits

Researchers also found out that among the celiac patients who were below 65 years of age, those who were not vaccinated were 28% more likely to develop pneumonia than those vaccinated. They also found out that there was a 7% chance of contracting pneumonia among those with celiac disease and were under 65 years. The study team also speculated that the higher risk of pneumonia among those under 65 years old is because older age is at higher risk for pneumonia than celiac disease. Those who have ever had pneumonia vaccine are about 37% of celiac patients. About 26% got the vaccine after being diagnosed with celiac disease. Celiac disease patient’s immune system damages the intestines. It happens when gluten found in rye, barley or wheat is consumed. It is estimated that one in every 100 people suffer from the disease.

Why is there a greater risk for celiac patients?

One of the authors of the study came up with a possible explanation as to why there is a greater risk of pneumonia among celiac disease patients. He said that evidence suggested that the spleen doesn’t work for some patients with celiac disease. This is the case for those with untreated celiac disease. The spleen is crucial in fighting several infections. The researcher works with the University of Nottingham. He noted that the spleen function usually starts to improve when celiac patients start eating a gluten-free diet. When the spleen function improves, it helps in fighting off infections.

The spleen plays a huge role in recycling iron, removing old blood cells and hold a reserve of blood. Apart from that, it synthesizes antibodies and removes bacteria and blood cells coated with antibodies. If this spleen is compromised, then there is an increased risk for other infections.

Dr. Shamez Ladhani said that a third of celiac patients have spleen issues which are caused by celiac disease. Dr. Shamez wasn’t involved in the study, but he works at Public Health England. Ladhani also said that patients need to discuss the risk they have with their doctors. He said that they should take appropriate actions to reduce the risk. He added that celiac disease patients should get a vaccination against pneumonia and other viruses and diseases like influenza vaccination.

Flu vaccination can help in protection against bacterial infections such as pneumonia. Ladhani suggested that celiac disease patients with spleen problems need pneumonia vaccine after every five years and flu vaccine after every year. Untreated bacterial pneumonia is severe. However, it is treated with antibiotics. Ladhani said that when celiac patients start to feel unwell with respiratory and fever symptoms, then they should look for medical advice as soon as possible. Those who haven’t gotten a pneumonia vaccine should ensure that they get one especially celiac disease patients. Pneumonia affects about 3 million people every year. This infection can be severe for children, infants, and adults above 65. Having a pneumonia vaccine is the best way of fighting against the disease.

Who should get a pneumonia vaccination?

Pneumonia vaccination is not regularly given to those younger than 65 years unless it is clear that they are at higher risk for pneumonia. Guidelines on how to provide the vaccine to all celiac disease patients are still debatable. Celiac disease patients have a higher risk of developing pneumonia, especially in the first year when diagnosed. A UK study suggests that clinical officers need to be vigilant when vaccinating patients who have an autoimmune disorder.

The CDC doesn’t advocate for pneumococcal vaccination in people younger than 65 years and those older than 5. But vaccination needs to be given to those people with some risk factors such as immunodeficiency. CDC also recommends vaccination for those patients with inadequate splenic function. The study found that celiac disease patients who haven’t had pneumonia vaccination had 30% chance of developing community acquired pneumonia. This disease is an infectious disease and causes morbidity and mortality in the world.

The bacteria pathogens that cause this condition include Haemophilus influenza, Streptococcus pneumonia, and Moraxella catarrhal. The Digestive Disorders Federation meeting held in London in2015 emphasize the need for pneumonia vaccination in celiac disease patients. Vaccines are safe, and it is ever safer to get a vaccine than getting pneumococcal bacteria. The PCV 7 vaccine was replaced with PCV 13 in 2010. The new vaccine protects against 13 different types of pneumococcal bacteria.

The Department of Health suggests that people above 65 years of age, infants, people between 2 and 65 with greater risk for pneumonia because of missing spleen or damaged spleen, and adult and children with a long-term illness such as diabetes should get a pneumonia vaccination. Patients should get pneumonia vaccination depending on their unique needs. This means that if a patient doesn’t have issues with the spleen, then he/she may not require vaccination until they reach age 65.

Dr. Benjamin who works with Columbia University Medical Centre said that celiac disease patients had diminished spleen function affecting the ability to fight bacterial pneumonia.

Studies are still ongoing on how pneumonia vaccination can help in fighting celiac disease. However, most doctors recommend pneumonia vaccination for all celiac disease patients. Without the vaccination, these patients are at higher risk for developing and contracting pneumonia.


Key Takeaways

  • A study found that celiac disease patients who haven’t had the pneumonia vaccination had a 30% chance of developing community acquired pneumonia.
  • Celiac disease can affect the spleen, and people with spleen issues are more prone to infection.
  • Celiac disease patients who were not vaccinated for pneumonia were 28% more likely to develop the infection.