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  • Jefferson Adams

    Should Patients with Autoimmune Thyroid Disease Be Screened for Celiac Disease?

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Should patients with autoimmune thyroid disease be screened for celiac disease?


    Photo: CC--Normalityrelief
    Caption: Photo: CC--Normalityrelief

    Celiac.com 02/13/2017 - Researchers have noted a strong clinical association between autoimmune thyroid disease and adult celiac disease. In part, at least, this appears to be related to common genetically-based determinants as well as a common embryonic origin since the fetal thyroid is derived from the pharyngeal gut.

    Dr. Hugh J Freeman of the Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada recently set out to review evidence from earlier prevalence studies and recent population-based studies.



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    Specific phenotypic features have been described if both disorders are defined, including dermatitis herpetiformis, and a greater risk for a malignant complication, including lymphoma, especially if celiac disease is initially diagnosed at a late age. Some phenotypic characteristics of autoimmune thyroid disease, such as orbitopathy, may be an important clue to occult celiac disease.

    Similarly, patients requiring a high thyroxine dose to treat their autoimmune thyroid disease may reflect another aspect of undetected celiac disease.

    In some studies, the relationship has also been extended to other phenotypic features, such as dermatitis herpetiformis, and a greater risk of malignant complication, especially if celiac disease is detected in late or elderly age groups. In addition, some phenotypic characteristics of thyroid disease, such as orbitopathy and a high dose requirement for replacement may be added clinical clues to occult or undetected celiac disease.

    Dr. Freeman recommends that doctors consider serological screening for adult celiac disease in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease.

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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 2,500 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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