- Doctors were baffled when the Portuguese boy broke his arm 3 times in 2 years
- They noted he had a diet high in dairy so that he shouldn’t be particularly prone
- After a series of blood tests, he was found to suffer from the digestive disorder
- Experts say this prevented his uptake of essential nutrients for his bone health
A seven-year-old boy’s brittle bones were found to be caused by an agonising digestive disorder.
Doctors were left baffled when he continued to break his arm despite having a diet high in dairy.
But after a series of blood tests, specialists in his Portuguese hometown found he was suffering from coeliac disease.
This was found to be the reason why he frequently needed him arm placed in a cast, LiveScience reports.
And after adopting a gluten-free diet upon his diagnosis, his bone strength improved immediately and he has yet to break another.
Doctors found that the seven-year-old boy, from Portugal, was suffering from coeliac disease. The agonising digestive disorder meant he had brittle bones
Doctors were left baffled after he broke his arm three times in two years, according to doctors writing in the BMJ Case Reports.
Despite being a keen footballer, the sport couldn’t be considered responsible for his brittle bones.
And they were left confused when he had no other medical conditions that could explain his frailty.
And doctors noted that he consumed a healthy diet which was high in dairy – long known to improve bone density.
To try and get to the bottom of his condition, doctors conducted an array of tests to assess his blood levels and bone health.
The initial findings showed that he had satisfactory levels of calcium, phosphorous and magnesium – all essential for keeping bones healthy.
After adopting a gluten-free diet upon his diagnosis, his bone strength improved immediately and he has yet to break another
But doctors did discover that he could possibly be suffering from coeliac disease.
His blood was found to have particularly high levels of an antibody heavily linked to the common digestive condition.
WHAT IS COELIAC DISEASE?
Coeliac disease is a common digestive condition where a person has an adverse reaction to gluten believed to that affect one in every 100 people in the UK.
The immune system mistakes substances found inside gluten as a threat to the body and attacks them.
This damages the surface of the small bowel, disrupting the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.
Scientists are unsure what causes the immune system to act in this way.
There is no cure for coeliac disease, but switching to a gluten-free diet helps to control symptoms.
Source: NHS Choices
A gastroenterologist then confirmed the doctor’s suspicions by making the official diagnosis.
The disease affects around one in 100 people, although up to three quarters of people with the condition may not have been diagnosed.
The most typical symptoms are diarrhoea, bloating and abdominal pain, which are caused when the body’s immune response damages the gut lining.
This damage often triggers fatigue and anaemia if important nutrients from food are not absorbed sufficiently as a result.
But experts also believe that this lack of absorption can cause a loss of bone density, making them more fragile.
Doctors then gave the boy a gluten-free diet to follow in an attempt to improve his overall bone health.
It proved successful – with him not reporting any further breaks in his check-up almost four years later.
This comes after research in October found that many items labelled as gluten-free may not be completely rid of the protein that leaves some in agony.
Of all items marketed as gluten-free, 14 per cent actually have detectable traces of gluten, scientists discovered.