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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Is Celiac Disease Worse in People with Anemia?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Photo: CC--Commons

    Celiac.com 09/05/2013 - Current medical science describes diarrhea as a classical symptom of celiac disease, while anemia is described as an atypical or silent manifestation.

    Photo: CC--CommonsHowever, there was actually very little information that accurately compares the severity of celiac disease between patients who present with anemia against those who present with diarrhea.

    A team of researchers recently set out to determine whether people with anemia have more severe celiac disease than people with diarrhea.

    The research team included H.A. Daya, B. Lebwohl, S.K. Lewis, and P.H. Green. They are affiliated with the Celiac Disease Center, Department of Internal Medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.

    For their study, the researchers selected a study group of 727 patients from a database of celiac disease patients evaluated at a tertiary referral center between 1990 and 2011. They used the degree of villous atrophy and clinical and serologic parameters to determine the severity of the celiac disease for each patient.

    The team compared patients according to mode of presentation and sex. They also conducted age and sex-adjusted multivariable analyses to assess the association between the mode of celiac disease presentation and cholesterol level, bone density, severity of villous atrophy, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and level of anti-tissue transglutaminase (anti-tTG).

    They found that just over three-quarters of the patients presented with diarrhea, while just under one-quarter presented with anemia; 92% of which was iron deficient anemia.

    Multiple regression analysis showed that celiac disease with anemia was associated with lower levels of total cholesterol (P=.02) and high-density lipoprotein (P=.002), and a higher ESR (P=.001) and level of anti-tTG (P=.01).

    In women only, celiac disease with anemia was associated with a lower level of cholesterol.

    Anemic patients were more than twice as likely to have severe villous atrophy and a low bone mass density at time they were diagnosed with celiac disease than were patients who presented with diarrhea.

    So, the results show that celiac disease patients who present with anemia have more severe disease than those who present with diarrhea. There also seem to be sex-specific differences with respect to the connection between anemia and the various features of celiac disease, such as cholesterol.

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    Anemia comes from having celiac disease...of course they were twice as likely the anemia is caused from not absorbing nutrients because you have CELIAC disease! Come on folks...

     

     

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    This article compared those who have been diagnosed because they have diarrhea to those that were diagnosed because they have anemia. I had the anemia and think that if one had diarrhea, they couldn't ignore it. I wonder if those with anemia are generally sick longer and that could be the reason they have more malabsorption problems.

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    I had anemia and really bad diarrhea for many years, before my celiac diagnosis. My parents had the same, but were never tested for celiac. We all had low iron and other nutrients on our blood tests.

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    This article compared those who have been diagnosed because they have diarrhea to those that were diagnosed because they have anemia. I had the anemia and think that if one had diarrhea, they couldn't ignore it. I wonder if those with anemia are generally sick longer and that could be the reason they have more malabsorption problems.

    My celiac presented with anemia. I tried to address it myself, with diet, until I was passing out. Then doctors misdiagnosed it for years until the intestinal issues presented. So I think you are correct, plus doctors don't think of celiac when they see anemia.

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    I had anemia and bowel issues when I was diagnosed as well. Although my bone desnisty is good. I was 29 when I was diagnosed, I'm 31 now and my Ttg is still above normal (although it's now in the readable test range, so that's good). And no, after diagnosis I haven't 'cheated'.

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    My GI and hematologist said that since I was diagnosed with celiac at age 51 and most likely had the disease most of my life with no symptoms until severe anemia a few years ago, my iron deficiencies may continue because my small intestine is very damaged and not absorbing well...I have been gluten free 14 months. I have had a series of iron infusions in the past year.....

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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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