Celiac.com 04/06/2015 - Several studies have shown that many patients with celiac disease experience changes in body weight after starting a gluten-free diet, but researchers still don't have much data on rates of metabolic syndrome in this population.

Photo: CC--Samantha MarxA team of researchers recently set out to assess rates of metabolic syndrome in patients with celiac at diagnosis, and at one year after starting gluten-free diet. The research team included R. Tortora, P. Capone, G. De Stefano, N. Imperatore, N. Gerbino, S. Donetto, V. Monaco, N. Caporaso, and A. Rispo. They are affiliated with the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, University Federico II of Naples, Naples, Italy, or with the Department of Education and Professional Studies, King's College London, London, UK.

For their study, the team enrolled all consecutive patients with newly diagnosed celiac disease who were referred to their third-level celiac disease unit. For all patients the team collected data on waist circumference, BMI, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels.

The team diagnosed metabolic syndrome according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria for European countries. They reassessed rates of metabolic syndrome in patients after 12 months of gluten-free diet.

The team assessed ninety-eight patients with celiac disease, two (2%) who fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome at diagnosis, and 29 patients (29.5%) after 12 months of gluten-free diet (P < 0.01; OR: 20).

After 1 year on a gluten-free diet, the team compared the patient data to baseline, with respect to metabolic syndrome sub-categories. They found 72 vs. 48 patients exceeded waist circumference cut-off (P < 0.01; OR: 2.8); 18 vs. 4 patients had high blood pressure (P < 0.01; OR: 5.2); 25 vs. 7 patients exceeded glycemic threshold (P = 0.01; OR: 4.4); 34 vs. 32 patients with CD had reduced levels of HDL cholesterol (P = 0.7); and 16 vs. 7 patients had high levels of triglycerides (P = 0.05).

The results of this study show that celiac disease patients have a high risk of developing metabolic syndrome 1 year after starting a gluten-free diet.

To address this, the research team recommends an in-depth nutritional assessment for all patients with celiac disease.


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