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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Higher Risk of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease After Celiac Diagnosis

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Slide showing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Photo: Wikimedia Commons--Nephron

    Celiac.com 06/29/2015 - Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a common cause of chronic liver disease. There's good data showing that celiac disease changes intestinal permeability, and that treatment with a gluten-free diet often causes weight gain, but so far there is scant documentation of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in patients with celiac disease.

    A team of researchers recently set out to assess increased risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease following diagnosis of celiac disease. The research team include Norelle R. Reilly, Benjamin Lebwohl, Rolf Hultcrantz, Peter H.R. Green, and Jonas F. Ludvigsson. They are affiliated with the Department Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, and the Department of Pediatrics at Örebro University Hospital, Örebro University in Örebro, Sweden.

    The team assessed the for risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease diagnosed from 1997 to 2009 in 26,816 individuals with celiac disease to 130,051 matched reference individuals.

    The team excluded patients with any liver disease prior to celiac disease. They also excluded individuals with a lifetime diagnosis of alcohol-related disorder to minimize misclassification of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. They used Cox regression estimated hazard ratios for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

    Their results showed that over 246,559 person-years of follow-up, 53 individuals with celiac disease had a diagnosis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (21/100,000 person-years).

    In comparison, in the reference group showed 85 individuals diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease during 1,488,413 person-years (6/100,000 person-years).

    This corresponded to a hazard ratio of 2.8 in the celiac group (95% CI), with the highest risk estimates of 4.6 seen in children (95% CI).

    The risk increase in the first year after celiac disease diagnosis was 13.3 (95% CI), but remained significantly elevated at 2.5 even beyond 15 years after celiac diagnosis of celiac disease (95% CI).

    Individuals with celiac disease do have an increased risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease compared to the general population.

    Excess risks were highest in the first year after celiac disease diagnosis, but continued at least 15 years after celiac diagnosis. This much more comprehensive study provides much clearer and convincing data than any of the previous studies, and will likely serve as a baseline that clinicians have been lacking to this point.

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    Guest Thelma King Thiel

    Posted

    Diet is critical in dealing with Celiac disease and fatty liver disease as well. Promoting liver health is essential in controlling both diseases. I would like to share an approach that we have found successful in helping motivate both adults and children to address the issue of fatty liver disease, obesity and other liver related illnesses in their own lives.

     

    Extensive evaluation of liver health education programs have shown that individuals who understand HOW liver damage occurs and the detrimental impact it can have on innumerable life sustaining body functions, are motivated to make informed healthful decisions about their food and lifestyle choices. Providing simple messages they can relate to about the important role the liver plays in maintaining hundreds of body functions and sustaining life itself. . . is the key to empowering them to act on what they have learned.

     

    The following information is NEW to most Americans:

     

    The liver has zillions of liver cells serving as the body's micro-chips, converting food into hundreds of essential body functions including producing energy, immune factors, digestive juices (bile), clotting factors, excretion of toxins (alcohol, drugs, pollutants), control of cholesterol and hundreds more. Liver cells are the employees in your personal chemical refinery.

     

    WITHOUT WARNING excess sugar, fats, alcohol and drugs ingested can kill liver cells turning them into scar tissue called cirrhosis. Continued assault over months and years resulting in too many dead cells and too few healthy liver cells causes the liver to slow down and eventually shut down. When your liver shuts down-- so do you.

    Early warning signs of liver trouble can be fatigue, a fat belly and derriere, and possibly flu- like symptoms. Assess your own risks! Look in the mirror - A waistline over 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men may indicate a fatty liver.

    Making healthy food and lifestyle choices and daily exercise will help keep liver cells healthy and your body in good shape. Ask your healthcare provider to check the status of your liver.

    It could save your life.

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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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