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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Connection Seen Between Celiac and Addison's Disease

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 12/14/2007 - Celiac & Addison's patients seem to be at greater risk for both diseases. People with celiac disease have a higher risk of developing Addison’s disease, and those with Addison's have a higher risk of developing celiac disease. In both cases, the numbers are far higher than for the general population at large.

    Doctors are advising that people with Addison's be screened for celiac disease. However, as Addison’s is still rare overall, they are holding off recommending screening of celiac patients for Addison's. Instead, they are advocating that doctors treating celiac patients maintain a heightened awareness for signs of Addison’s, and to react accordingly.

    This latest evidence is the result of a case history review of 15,000 people with celiac disease. The review was conducted by a team of doctors led by one Dr. Peter Elfstrom of Sweden‘s Orebro University Hospital.

    A number of studies have shown a link between celiac disease and Addison’s disease, but little has been done to elucidate that connection. And, while this review goes farther than most, the doctors emphasize that the data is strictly preliminary, as they have looked at a relatively small number of cases and tested patients with Addison’s for celiac disease, but not vice versa.

    The data show a significant connection between celiac and later development of Addison's disease, citing a hazard ratio of 11.4. The results were the same for both adults and children with celiac, and remained so even after adjustment for diabetes, and the socio-economic conditions of the patients.

    Patients with existing Addison's had a significantly higher risk of celiac disease, citing a hazard ratio of 8.6.

    The connection between celiac and Addison's was shown to exist both pre- and post-diagnosis for celiac disease. The researchers don’t feel that celiac causes Addison's disease or vice versa, but that they might have related or common genetic traits.

    Journal of Endocrin. Metabol. 2007: 3595-3598.


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    Interesting article. I have had Addison's Disease for 11 years, and for 5 years I have had diarrhea constantly. I have been checked for celiac and I have tested negative. I am thinking maybe I should try a celiac diet.

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    Hi Lea

     

    The same thing happened to me. No doctor will listen, NO Nutrition. I know I am celiac and the tests say no. No cortisol ( autoimmune adrenal insuff) No lipase, post meno too. would love to gain 30 lbs. THANK YOU

    Because of gluten intolerance/celiac it can cause stress on the body= low cortisol blood serum levels. it happened to me, but i do not have Addison's, just adrenal fatigue, which is dealt with having a strict diet and sleep/ wake cycle. up at 7 walk at 9 in bed by 10. do this for 6 months and you will feel better and get your cortisol back on track. also, i'm seeing two specialists, a G.I dr and an endocrinologist dr...i have not been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, but the elimination diet says i do, i get dermatitis herpeformus. i am about to go back to the G.I dr for a checkup, he wants to see me again, I bet he will finally diagnose me. I went on a gluten free diet before the scope and biopsy, he saw a lot of scarring but tested negative for celiac, hence gluten intolerance is what I have. my mom has it too.

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    I just discovered this article and I am crying with joy, it is so wonderful when you finally have great information and then you can put everything together and have the information it takes to get well and live a much better life, I was diagnosed with Addison's last Nov and thought I was dying, my Dr. suggested there might be a link to celiac so he wanted me to start going gluten free, so in my search I found this website, I thank God for this website and all the writers that contribute to it, thank you.

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    I figured this out on my own too. I have self treated my adrenal insufficiency for years (daily salt plus Dr Wilson's adrenal rebuilder). Over the years I developed a mucus reaction to gluten and finally went on a gluten free diet. And something remarkable happened - my sleep dramatically improved. I think part of the benefit I have experienced is from better nutrient absorption. But also my breathing is better and that contributes to better sleep. This connection between the two disorders is important.

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    I figured this out on my own too. I have self treated my adrenal insufficiency for years (daily salt plus Dr Wilson's adrenal rebuilder). Over the years I developed a mucus reaction to gluten and finally went on a gluten free diet. And something remarkable happened - my sleep dramatically improved. I think part of the benefit I have experienced is from better nutrient absorption. But also my breathing is better and that contributes to better sleep. This connection between the two disorders is important.

    I have been having symptoms of diarrhea for years. I had no idea, until I finally went to the doctor and today I found out that I have celiac disease. My mother had Addison's disease but it was not diagnosed until she was in the late stages where she started losing the function of her organs. She ended up on Prednisone and passed away due to the complications from Addison's. All the research I have done today confirms my suspicions that these two diseases are related and that if I don't get my celiac disease under control then I could develop Addison's as well. Great article.

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    I've had Addison's for 21 years. I recently read about the link to celiac disease and recently discovered that celiac runs in my family. I am presently awaiting test results. But I will not be surprised if further studies indicate that a lot of the primary Addison's cases currently attributed to 'autoimmune' causes turn out to be the result of some type of chronic malnutrition caused by years of undiagnosed celiac disease.

    Before I found out I had celiac, every tooth in my mouth was loose from malabsorption and my hair was falling out like crazy. I started gluten-free and am feeling much better! I'm going to have my doctor check for Addison's also, just to rule in or rule out. I want my health back even if I am the one doing all the work to fix it.

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    I had to tell the doctor about celiac disease! I also have Addison's. After taking cortisone and getting moon faced and arthritis from the toxic medicine, I studied and now take only herbs and food. I am a Certified Holistic Health Counselor.

    It would help if you mentioned the kind of herbs you take. I am writing from Switzerland and therefore have to look for them locally. Thanks.

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    Thanks for all the comments from people. I was tested about 5-6 yrs ago for celiac and test was negative. I went on a gluten free diet and have lost weight, feel better and gotten rid of diahrrhea for the most part.

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    I came here to learn more about Addison's Disease because I suffer from Lyme and noticed that most of the people who have Lyme suffer from this and celiac disease. I did not expect the two to be connected in some way. This was very interesting. I am going to share this information because many of the people in my Lyme group are still having health problems and have been tested for one but not the other if they see these have a connection it might help them find a solution to their health problems.

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    OK, we get it, Addison's and celiac are linked. But what is Addison's disease? What symptoms should we be aware of?

    Addison's disease is when your adrenal glands don't function. so you would need to get a type of steroid medication for that. it means that whenever your body is under stress or something like that you would need more meds. some symptoms include being lethargy and super tired and out of it. you appetite decreases (when I was diagnosed I lost 30 pounds in less then a month), you will want to sleep a lot and if you're diabetic your sugar levels will low frequently. I hope this helps.

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    better late than never.  My doctor has actually been pretty good.  He told me that even though my  blood tests were coming back with no indication of celiac that he believed l was suffering from it.  Our insurance does not cover the decisive test for celiac  because it requires a biopsy and out of pocrt expense for the test is $880.00 plus fees for the biopsy administrator.  Doc put me on a psychiatric medication to help me sleep and gain weight and had me go completely gluten free; told me to make sure l ate no "may contain" products.  Within 4 months l gained a much needed 40 pounds but have had to fight to keep it on.  all went well for a few years, then my teeth began breaking and so did my bones.  with 15 broken bones in two years, l was placed on a bone builder, and this year not a single break despite having five falls.  Now l am having all the Addison symptoms and will make an appointment to see my good doctor this week.

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    I hit the jackpot! I have fibro, Addison's, Sjogren's, sleep apnea and severe gluten intolerance. All three have been confirmed with lab tests. 

    Adrienne is right. I need a regular sleep and rest patterns. I don't become distressed about not sleeping all night. I sleep, at most, 4 continuous hours. I am in bed by 10pm. When I am up at 2am, I engage in some menial task that won't wake up the rest of the house. Usually I am sleepy within 30 minutes and go back to bed for 4 hours.

    I went gluten-free 2 years ago. I lost 45 pounds and have much less pain. (Consider that I rarely eat even gluten-free baked goods.) I no longer use an electric mobility scooter. In fact, I am now able to ride a gas powered motor scooter. Giving up gluten was such a small price to pay for renewed health.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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