Morbidity and Mortality in Adults with Undiagnosed Celiac Disease
I diagnosed myself for gluten intolerance after a lifetime of bizarre, seemingly unrelated afflictions. If my doctors had their way, I would have already undergone neck surgery, still be on 3 different inhalers for asthma, be vomiting daily and having chronic panic attacks. However, since eliminating gluten from my diet in May 2009, I no longer suffer from any of those things. Even with the proof in the pudding (or gluten) my doctors now want me to ingest gluten to test for celiac-no can do.View all articles by Destiny Stone
Between 1995 and 2001, serum samples were obtained from 16,886 Olmsted County, Minnesota citizens 50 years of age or older with unknown celiac status.
Out of 16,847 adults studied, 129 cases were discovered to have undiagnosed celiac disease. 127 undiagnosed celiacs and 254 unmatched controls were then submitted for a systematic evaluation in search of over 100 possibly coexisting ailments.
The scientists found that while celiac disease has been associated with an elevated risk for cancer, this study found no significant risk increase for cancer in undiagnosed celiacs compared to the control group.
Researchers also found that those patients with undiagnosed celiac disease displayed an increased rate of osteoporosis and hypothyroidism. Furthermore, undiagnosed celiacs were also found to typically have a lower body mass index, and lower levels of ferritin and cholesterol, and to be less prone to arthritis and have a reduced rate of glucose intolerance. The correlation between lower arthritis and glucose intolerance in undiagnosed celiacs is speculated to be a result of a lower body mass index.
In conclusion, researchers were not able to determine a connection between undiagnosed celiac in older adults and comorbidity. In fact, except for impaired bone health, most undiagnosed celiacs in this study displayed little comorbidity and they did not have increased mortality rates when compared to the control group.
Researchers of this study therefore concluded that there may be advantages and disadvantages to being an older undiagnosed celiac.
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