Celiac.com 05/08/2007 - For people with celiac disease, accurate and comprehensive information on maintaining a healthy, high-level quality of life can be difficult to find. Research is particularly sketchy with respect to factors that have a negative impact on health and quality of life for adults with celiac disease.

Factors that have a negative impact on health and quality of life are often modifiable through changes in diet, or adjustments in treatment. Thus researchers are motivated to identify which celiac patient groups are at risk of being impacted in a negative way, and to determine which adjustments might bring positive results.

In an effort to refine treatment approaches and improve the lives of patients with celiac disease, clinical researchers in Gastroenterology have become increasingly interested in health-related quality of life issues as primary or secondary endpoints in their studies.

A recent study published online in Medscape Today suggests that, in addition to physical and mental co-morbidities, a failure to sustain a gluten-free diet and disappointment with doctor-patient communication are also important factors associated with health-related quality of life concerns in people with celiac disease.

Motivated by inconsistencies in available data, a team of German researchers made up of Drs. W. Häuser, A. Stallmach, W. F. Caspary, and J. Stein, set out to evaluate the various predictors for reduced health-related quality of life in adult patients with celiac disease.

Using logistic regression analysis, the researchers catalogued responses to medical and socio-demographic questionnaires by 1000 adult celiac disease patients who were members of the German Coeliac Society.

The subjects responded to the following three survey questionnaires, which were administered by post:
1) the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36); 2) the Celiac Disease Questionnaire; 3) the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

The results showed that physical co-morbidities (ß = -0.41; OR = 0.66, P < 0.001) and mental disorder (ß = 0.88; OR = 2.4, P = 0.03) were associated with a reduced physical summary score of the SF-36 Scale.

Mental disorder (ß = 2.5; OR = 11.9, P < 0.001), physical co-morbidities (ß = -0.26; OR = 0.77, P = 0.004) and younger age at diagnosis (ß = -0.10; OR = 0.91, P = 0.05) predicted a reduced mental summary score of the SF-36 Scale.

Mental disorder (ß = 0.90; OR = 2.5, P = 0.03), non-compliance with gluten-free diet (ß = 0.44; OR = 1.6, P = 0.009), active medical co-morbidities (ß = -0.28; OR = 0.76, P = 0.007) and dissatisfaction with doctor–patient communication (ß = 0.55; OR = 1.7, P = 0.03) were associated with reduced Celiac Disease Questionnaire scores.

In adult patients with celiac disease, the following factors were associated with reduced health-related quality of life: female gender, younger age at diagnosis, newly diagnosed patients, latency of diagnosis, failure to follow a gluten-free diet, anxiety and somatic and psychiatric co-morbidity.

Until this study, attempts to measure health status in patients with celiac disease relied on generic health-related quality of life methods, rather than validated, disease specific instruments, and thus the relative predictive value of these variables had not been fully assessed.

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2007;25(5):569-578.

Celiac.com welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).