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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Higher Rates of Peripheral Neuropathy in People with Celiac Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Photo CC: RDECOM

    Celiac.com 07/17/2012 - To follow up on reported associations between celiac disease and peripheral neuropathy, a research team recently conducted a study of peripheral neuropathic symptoms in celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

    Photo CC: RDECOMT.C. Shen, B. Lebwohl, H. Verma, N. Kumta, C. Tennyson, S. Lewis, E. Scherl, A. Swaminath, K.M. Capiak, D. DiGiacomo, B.P. Bosworth, T.H. Brannagan 3rd, and P.H. Green. They are affiliated with the Department of Medicine, Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY.

    For their study, the team recruited patients celiac disease and/or inflammatory bowel disease from the gastroenterology clinics at a medical center and local support groups. The team recruited control subjects without celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease from the staff of the medical center, and from relatives and attendees at support groups.

    Researchers had each participant complete a survey that used two validated peripheral neuropathy standards to define and characterize peripheral neuropathy.

    The team found that 38.9% of participants with celiac disease and 38.7% in the inflammatory bowel disease group (P = 0.97) met criteria for peripheral neuropathy compared with 20.5% in the control group (P < 0.001).

    Using multiple logistic regression, the researchers found that those with celiac disease had higher odds of peripheral neuropathy (odds ratio, 2.51; 95% confidence interval, 1.82-3.47), adjusted for age, gender, diabetes, vitamin B12 deficiency, and cancer history; as did those with inflammatory bowel disease (odds ratio, 2.78; 95% confidence interval, 1.85-4.18).

    The results showed that people with celiac disease and/or inflammatory bowel disease
    had higher rates of peripheral neuropathy than did the general population.

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    This is interesting info. It would have been great if info was included to direct us who deal with neuropathy, where to get help. Not finding that here in Knoxville,TN.

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    My gluten intolerance presented as gluten ataxia following a severe and as yet unlocated gastrointestinal bleed, requiring a 12 unit transfusion. So I am unable to determine if the presentation was related to the trauma of the bleed or the bleed was precipitated by the long term intolerance. The ataxia retreated rapidly with a gluten-free diet, but the neuropathy continues to advance very slowly on the absolutely rigid gluten-free diet. A single accidental exposure to a small amount of gluten revealed a severe gluten precipitated cardiac arrhythmia as well. Is continued neuropathy advancement to be expected, or can measures be taken to further reduce that progression?

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    Guest Jean Mascarenhas

    Posted

    This is indeed interesting. I suffer from both celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease and I have been suspecting that I have peripheral neuropathy as I get painful twinges all over my body and also suffer from stress. I thought it was due to a B12 deficiency and looked it up on the net. I shall show this article to my doctor as he has been dismissing my suspicions.

    As Kathy says, it would be good if there was info of how to deal with the problem.

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    I haven't been diagnosed for celiac disease, but I have all the symptoms of the disease. I started out with lactose intolerance and when all of that was eliminated there were still issues with food. After I got cancer and went on a diet eliminating all starchy foods and vegetables I felt wonderful for three months. Went off the diet and problems with gluten were very noticeable. Now I have tingling in my feet and icy stabs of needles in my right foot. At night my right hand goes numb depending on how I position myself. Have to lay on my left side or flat on the back but still happens every night when I work around it to get comfortable. I found your article interesting as I didn't know there might be a link. Thanks.

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    Very interesting. I suffer with peripheral neuropathy and even though my doctors agree I have had celiac disease all my 70 years, they will not accept it as the cause of the PN. I also have eczema, for which I believe could be blamed on the celiac sprue. I am on a very strict gluten-free diet and have been since my diagnosis 12 years ago. I do not feel much better no matter what I do.

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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 biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. 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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