The Anonymous Widower

Is Undiagnosed Coeliac Disease A Possible Explanation For High Deaths From Covid-19 Amongst Those Of Caribbean And Jewish Heritage?

In The Times today, they publish a list today of deaths per 100,000 people, who died in hospital from Covoid-19.

  • Caribbean – 70
  • Any other black – 48
  • Total black – 43
  • Indian – 30
  • Any other Asian – 27
  • All Asian – 27
  • African – 27
  • Overall – 26
  • Pakistani – 26
  • White British – 23
  • Bangladeshi – 20

Some things jump out from the data,

  1. Those of Asian, African and Pakistani heritage have death rates similar to the general population.
  2. Bangladeshis do rather well, which is contrary to the expectations of some people.
  3. Those from the Caribbean, fare much worse than other black groups and Africans.

In the statistics, one group of immigrants were ignored. I live in Hackney and there have been a large number of Orthodox Jewish immigrants to the borough in recent years. From statements, by the Chief Rabbi, in The Times and on BBC Radio, he is worried and has closed all the synagogues under his control. Separating this group might give an insight into the data.

Recently my GP, asked if I had been vaccinated against measles, as Hackney is a measles hotspot. I haven’t been vaccinated, but I have had the disease. Apparently, the Orthodox Jewish groups have low vaccination rates.

I am also coeliac, which means I have a gluten allergy. Mine comes from an Ashkenazi Jewish line from the Baltic, but coeliac disease is also present in the Irish and some West Africans. In these three groups, historic famine seems to be the cause. Over the years, I have met several coeliacs from Jamaica and other islands in the West Indies, but never have I met any from Asia or East Africa.

Various research into coeliac disease has shown, that as many as one in a hundred of the UK population could be undiagnosed coeliacs. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was fifty, twenty years ago, so sufferers do slip through the net.

But research from Nottingham University has also shown, that coeliacs on a gluten-free diet are less likely to suffer from cancer, than the general population. Could this be because this group has a strong immune system, which gets an immune response  in early on the cancer?

Undiagnosed Coeliacs And Pollution

I can speak of this with authority, as that was me as a child.

I grew up in Southgate in North London and the air was polluted with the smoke from domestic coal fires. I suffered badly and was a very unhealthy child, who regularly had three months off school.

My health improved about ten and it could have been one of three factors.

  • I was exercising more, having learned to ride a bike.
  • My parents had bought a house in Felixstowe, where we tended to spend lots of boring weekends and holidays.
  • The Clean Air Act of 1956 had cleaned up London’s air.

My breathing certainly improved and I was a good enough athlete to make a school team at fifteen.

Recent research has shown, that there can be a link between air pollution and COVID-19. I wrote about this in Air Pollution May Be ‘Key Contributor’ To Covid-19 Deaths – Study.

These days, even in a polluted street, I don’t suffer much at all, but then I’m on a strict gluten-free diet!

Although, I do find that my breathing improves in the Spring, when we start to get longer days with lots of sunshine.

Undiagnosed Coeliacs And Strokes

I had my serious stroke because of atrial fibrillation. My father died after two serious strokes. He must have been coeliac, so were his strokes caused by the same reason as mine?

I have talked with cardiac specialists and they have felt, that my fifty years as an undiagnosed coeliac could have damaged my heart muscle to cause the atrial fibrillation.

Slavery

It would not be right to ignore slavery.

Millions of Africans were taken from West Africa to America and the Caribbean and they were probably fed nothing more than bread and water most of the time.

Did this increase the predominance of coeliac genes in those that survived the horrific treatment?

What Are The Bangladeshis Doing Right?

As a coeliac, if I’m stuck in a town, that is unknown to me and I need a meal, I’ll often go to the smartest Indian (Bangladeshi?) restaurant, as I’ve never found one with cloth tablecloths and napkins, that doesn’t do good gluten-free food. The only wheat they use is in the nans!

So has this diet given Bangladeshis a good immune system?

What Is The Figure For Jewish People?

In this article in The Times, Melanie Phillips says this.

As of last Friday, 335 British Jews had died of the virus, more than five times their proportion in the population.

Wikipedia gives the number of British Jews as 263,346 in the 2011 Census.

A rough estimate using these figures gives a figure of 127 per 100,000 of the population.

Conclusion

Could undiagnosed coeliac disease be the unexplained link as to why people with Caribbean heritage have higher deaths than those with African?

April 24, 2020 - Posted by | Health | , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Very interesting. I have both Eastern European Ashkenazi Jewish and Sephardic Ethiopian Jewish ancestors – that comes from Ancestry DNA though, so could be hundreds of generations ago. I remember when my girls were small and I was walking with them to school how dirty the air was due to traffic. Now, with lockdown, it is lovely and clear and fresh. I am just not able to go out and breathe it. Lockdown is starting to feel like house arrest 😦 Things are slowly opening up here, including the lovely little cafe that my friend and I meet at each Tuesday – it is only delivery and take away when it opes, but on lockdown we can’t even do that – myself and this fried are both in “extremely vulnerable” group.

    Take care, keep safe.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | April 24, 2020 | Reply

    • I tend to think, that the Bangladeshis are an interesting case. Their diet is probably pretty immune system friendly. From your past experience, do they have lower levels of cancer?

      Comment by AnonW | April 24, 2020 | Reply


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