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American Oncology Institute (AOI) in Nagpur Successfully Treated Celiac a Rare Disease in Central India

Nagpur, 18th March 2024 – American Oncology Institute (AOI) in Nagpur successfully treated a rare occurrence of Celiac disease in Central India, challenging the conventional understanding of its prevalence in the region. A 53-year-old woman from Katol, Nagpur had been suffering from weakness for two years, was diagnosed with iron deficiency anaemia and elevated liver enzymes.  

Upon further investigation, with all other causes of iron deficiency anaemia ruled out, including blood in stool, the medical team opted for an endoscopy. Scalloping of the small intestinal mucosa was observed during the procedure, prompting biopsies and blood tests for Celiac disease. Both reports confirmed the presence of celiac disease, a condition considered rare in Central and South India. 

"Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder with varied presentations, and its diagnosis in Central India adds a new dimension to our understanding of its prevalence," said Dr Amit Dhawan, Regional Chief Operating Officer (RCOO) at American Oncology Institute (AOI) Nagpur. "This case underscores the importance of thorough evaluation and the need for heightened awareness among healthcare professionals in regions where Celiac disease is perceived to be uncommon." 

"Instances such as these highlight the importance of continually challenging our assumptions about disease prevalence and diagnosis," remarked Dr Atul J. Gawande, Gastroenterologist, American Oncology Institute (AOI) Nagpur. "Celiac disease is common in western countries and in north India because of genetic makeup. In regions where certain conditions are perceived to be rare, it's crucial for healthcare professionals to remain vigilant and open-minded. This ensures that patients receive timely and accurate diagnoses, leading to better treatment outcomes and improved quality of life." 

Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by sensitivity to gluten found in wheat, barley, oats, and rye, leads to difficulty in nutrient absorption from the small intestine. The sole treatment for this disease is strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. The patient was promptly placed on a gluten-free diet, and within one month, her haemoglobin levels showed improvement, alongside a decreasing trend in liver enzymes. 

Patients diagnosed with celiac disease are advised to grind gluten-free grains like corn, bajra, rice, and jawar at home to prevent contamination with gluten-containing products, as commercial grinding machines may pose a risk of cross-contamination. 

This case highlights the importance of awareness and early detection of Celiac disease, particularly in regions where its prevalence is considered rare. It underscores the critical role of medical professionals in accurately diagnosing and managing this condition to improve patient outcomes.