Gluten Intolerance and Pericardial Arrhythmias

A human heart diagram

For some sufferers of celiac disease there is a connection between gluten intolerance and pericardial arrhythmias.

What is Pericardial Arrhythmia?

The term pericardial arrhythmia is medically based on the condition of pericarditis. The pericardium is a double-layered membrane that surrounds the heart forming a protective barrier against infections and maintaining the heart's location within the body. Sometimes the two layers of the pericardium rub against one another, causing inflammation which may result in very uncomfortable symptoms. In fact, these symptoms often mimic a heart attack in that patients experience both chest pain and heart arrhythmias. These arrhythmias account for the term pericardial arrhythmia.

This is a serious condition as it can lead to massive infections. Its causes include everything from bacterial and fungal infections to kidney disorders, cancers, and autoimmune illnesses. Pericardial arrhythmias have so many causes that this condition is most often a secondary effect of an underlying illness. This is where the connection between gluten intolerance and pericardial arrhythmias comes into play.

Gluten Intolerance and Pericardial Arrhythmias

Celiac disease results in a wide variety of symptoms. It can often bring about some very serious medical conditions that may overwhelm a diagnostic procedure. Celiac disease can be the underlying factor in disease of the brain, heart, and digestive tract, and any other bodily tissue or system. In essence, if the root cause of these problems is not addressed, treatment of any secondary issues will be unsuccessful in the long run.

It's important to understand just how gluten intolerance can compromise susceptible bodies. First of all, gluten intolerance results in the breakdown of intestinal villi, thus causing a malabsorption syndrome that will lead to severe nutritional deficiencies over time. Many secondary illness, such as anemia, are caused by just these nutritional deficiencies. Certain nutrients are vital for optimal cardiac function and so when essential minerals and vitamins are not adequately present in the diet, pericardial function can become compromised.

Moreover, when the intestines become damaged and permeable, they invite a host of microorganisms to freely cross the intestinal barrier and enter the bloodstream. These bacteria, yeasts and fungi can also cause pericarditis as well as other bodily infections. Individuals with untreated celiac disease can easily invite a horde of health problems, though it's easy to see why this illness is so difficult to diagnose.

An experienced doctor may draw the connection between so many secondary conditions and start exploring options like cancer, lupus, and celiac disease. Sadly, celiac disease is often lumped at the very bottom of these possibilities, and unless a patient produces severe digestive distress or a tell-tale rash, it may take a decade to draw up the connection between gluten intolerance and pericardial arrhythmias.

Treatment Options

A gluten-free diet is the primary treatment for celiac disease. This diet is not optional for patients with gluten intolerance; it is an essential way of living. How reversible are cardiac symptoms that have been caused by celiac disease? Results vary from patient to patient. Celiac.com updates its resources regularly regarding treatment successes and studies that involve cardiac symptoms. So far, some studies have revealed improvements in such conditions when patients followed a gluten-free diet. Unfortunately, other studies failed to produce conclusive results, primarily because many patients died before the trial period ended. These patients were typically of advanced age and do not represent individuals below sixty-five years of age.

Successful elimination of gluten from the diet is extremely important. Nearly as important, is the timeliness of an accurate diagnosis. Not all celiac-induced conditions will respond to the dietary changes, especially if the illness has advanced. However, the bulk of celiac patients will improve dramatically once gluten is completely eradicated from their meal regimen. You will need to read food labels carefully and memorize key ingredients that are often hidden sources of gluten intolerance. Improvement in your condition may occur immediately or over a prolonged period of time, but going gluten-free is your best bet in at least maintaining your current level of health as opposed to allowing the disease to progress further.

Gluten Intolerance and Pericardial Arrhythmias