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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    People with Celiac Disease Face Higher Risk of Psoriasis

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Photo: CC - mysiana

    Celiac.com 05/19/2012 - Because a number of past studies examining the connection between celiac disease and psoriasis have had contradictory findings, researchers wanted to get a better idea of the actual risk of psoriasis in patients with biopsy-verified celiac disease.

    Photo: CC - mysianaThe researchers were J.F. Ludvigsson, B. Lindelöf, F. Zingone, and C. Ciacci, with the Department of Pediatrics at Sweden's Örebro University Hospital.

    For their study, they used data from 28 pathology departments in Sweden to identified individuals with celiac disease diagnosed between 1969 and 2008. They found 28,958 patients with Marsh 3 villous atrophy.

    They then used Cox regression to compare those celiac disease patients with 143,910 sex- and age-matched control subjects, and to assess the risk of psoriasis.

    They found that celiac disease was a risk factor for future psoriasis (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.72; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.54-1.92. They found that, during follow-up, 401 individuals with celiac disease and 1,139 controls were diagnosed with psoriasis.

    They found that the absolute risk of future psoriasis in patients with celiac disease was 135 per 100,000 person-years, with an excess risk of 57 cases per 100,000 person years.

    Overall, 42% of the cases of psoriasis in patients with celiac disease could be attributed to celiac disease. Moreover, in children the team saw a strong association between celiac disease and psoriasis (HR = 2.05; 95% CI = 1.62-2.60).

    Their results show that the connection between celiac disease and psoriasis seems to be far more than coincidental, as we also found a positive association between celiac disease and psoriasis before celiac diagnosis, with an odds ratio of 1.91; 95% CI = 1.58-2.31).

    They conclude that individuals with celiac disease do, in fact, face an increased risk of psoriasis both before and after celiac diagnosis.

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    Not exactly news to me. From the age of 5 until my mid-50s I suffered from several large patches of plaque psoriasis on my major joints, the palms of my hands, and the soles of my feet which would often crack open and bleed. I had been to several doctors about it, but none of their treatments brought any relief, and a few made it even worse, leading to secondary skin lesions and infections. Within a week of going gluten-free, the patches began to fade, and within a few months, only a tiny dime-sized patch remained on my right knee. Today, within hours of accidental gluten exposure, dry white blisters form on the palms of my hands and the skin takes several weeks to dry, crack, and eventually sluff-off. Curiously, none of my doctors seem to think this is a significant indicator of gluten intolerance. I'm glad to see the world is finally beginning to notice.

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    My sister is 33 and recently found out she has celiac disease. She has suffered from severe psoriasis since she was 9. We had always attributed it to stress. It makes sense that it would have actually come from her celiac disease though. Her gluten-free diet is helping.

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    My eczema/psoriasis improved dramatically after going on a gluten-free diet. I always thought it was a coincidence. Very interesting that it is not. Since I don't have typical gastrointestinal symptoms for my Celiac, just vitamin deficiencies, I will watch the psoriasis symptoms as a guide for when I've accidentally eaten something with gluten.

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    As an undiagnosed celiac in December, 1995, I scratched my knee which led to a variety of nasty skin rashes, one of which was diagnosed as psoriasis. I had colon cancer in March, 1996. Since it was not dermatitis herpepiformis, local celiac disease goop and doctors said it was not celiac disease related. I was sure that it was.

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    As an undiagnosed celiac in December, 1995, I scratched my knee which led to a variety of nasty skin rashes, one of which was diagnosed as psoriasis. I had colon cancer in March, 1996. Since it was not dermatitis herpepiformis, local celiac disease goop and doctors said it was not celiac disease related. I was sure that it was.

    I also had weird rashes. I would be in the shower and get a burning sensation on my leg. When I dried off it would stop burning and the next day it looked like prickly heat and it would come back in the shower at times in the same spot. I suffered from reflux for years, developed Graves disease (thyroid), osteoporosis, my gall bladder stopped working and 3 years after it was removed I got stomach bloating and extreme gas and foul bowels. I got a new gastroenterologist that did all blood work for celiac diseaes, hydrogen breath tests for parasites and food intolerances. I had an endoscopy and colonoscopy. All showed nothing, except I had one gene positive for celiac diseaes and one negative. I cannot have any dairy, soy or gluten based on my own body's feeling sick when I do. The rashes have gone, and for the most part I feel better, though I am still tired at times. Celiac diagnosis is very hard to get unless you have the flattened villi or the blistery rash or both genes positive. There still may be other genes they are unaware of though. You must be your own doctor.

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    Interesting. I have had psoriasis for 50 years, and not one doctor has ever related it to celiac disease, yet my symptoms for celiac seem to match what I'm reading in this report. I will try a gluten-free diet for 2 weeks to pinpoint a problem with food, celiac and psoriasis. Then I will see my doctor.

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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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