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Celiac Disease Carries Serious Risk of Thyroid Disorders

Celiac.com 11/25/2008 - Celiac disease is one of the most under-diagnosed medical disorders, with 97% of all cases currently remaining undiagnosed. According to the National Institutes of Health, 3 million people in the United States with celiac disease, while only 140,000 have been diagnosed. Celiac disease is more than twice as common in people over 50 years of age.

People with untreated celiac disease are at risk of developing any number of associated conditions, including gastrointestinal cancer at rates of 40 to 100 times those of the general population, in addition to osteoporosis, and a two-fold increase in the risk of fractures, including first-time hip fractures. Moreover, an unusually high percentage of people with celiac disease suffer from the following conditions: Anemia, Arthritis, Ataxia, Cancer—Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Cow's Milk Intolerance, Dermatitis, Diabetes-Type 1, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Liver Disease, Migraine Headaches, Nerve Disease and/or Peripheral Neuropathy, Obesity, Osteoporosis, Osteomalacia/Low Bone Density, Pancreatic & Thyroid Disorders.

According to a new study by doctors based in Sweden, people with celiac disease face a significantly higher risk of developing thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and thyroiditis.

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the neck that creates the hormones that control human metabolism.  People with under-active thyroid, called hypothyroidism, suffer symptoms such as fatigue, sensitivity to cold, dry skin and weight gain, while people with overactive thyroid, called hyperthyroidism, commonly suffer from symptoms such as excessive sweating, heat intolerance, and nervousness. However, mild cases of hypo- or hyperthyroidism commonly present no symptoms at all. Inflammation of the thyroid gland is called Thyroiditis.

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The research team, led by Dr. Peter Elfstrom at Orebro University Hospital, reviewed Swedish national health records covering the period from 1963 to 2003. The team compared rates of thyroid disease for 14,000 people with celiac disease against some 68,000 non-celiac control subjects matched for age and gender.

The results showed that people with celiac disease are diagnosed with hypothyroidism more than four times as often as non-celiacs, with hyperthyroidism more than three times as often as non-celiacs, and with hyperthyroidism more than 3.6 times as often as non-celiacs. Moreover, the relationship works both ways: people with established hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and thyroiditis face much higher rates of celiac disease.

These results held true even after the data were adjusted for potential confounders, including the presence of diabetes mellitus. The researchers theorize that the association between celiac disease and thyroid disease may be due to shared genetic or immunological traits.

This is just the latest in a string of studies that drives home the importance of early testing for suspected celiac cases, as early discovery and treatment with a gluten free diet greatly reduces associated complications in celiac disease.

Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, October 2008.

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4 Responses:

 
Randi
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said this on
02 Dec 2008 12:55:56 PM PDT
My mother had her thyroid removed fairly early in her life, had colon cancer and then died from pancreatic cancer. This article was very interesting to me.

 
Kate Johnson
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
10 Dec 2008 6:14:19 AM PDT
I would like to see the study which shows that 39% of people with celiac disease have lymphoma. This is alarmingly high and concerning. Can you elaborate please?

 
Cathi
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said this on
29 Sep 2012 1:55:25 PM PDT
Interesting. I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroid disease over 10 years ago. It was about 3 years ago that I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I think the thing that bothers me the most is that no doctor that I saw for Hashimotos's ever thought about testing me for celiac disease. When brought up they just brushed off the idea. It really makes me mad.

 
jacquie
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said this on
19 Mar 2013 9:54:45 AM PDT
I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto disease 2 years ago, no mention was ever made of celiac disease either. I was diagnosed with celiac disease 4 months ago. Once you have celiac disease and start reading the different articles of what to look for or to what it may cause, it is then too late. In my opinion, the problem is that there are so many specialists that the line of communication gets broken somewhere along the line.




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Hello and welcome I don't have an answer, like you I'm eating rice in processed foods as well as a side dish so I'm also wondering if I'm eating too much. If the rice is in a product like flour there's no way to tell how its prepared etc However for this: You can pre soak and rinse the rice in advance and change the way you cook it to reduce your exposure by up to 80% Details: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2F1MDzyW55pg97Tdpp7gqLN/should-i-be-concerned-about-arsenic-in-my-rice

I use almond, and coconut a lot now my bakery used to use oat and almond blends. We never used rice, or starches as our goal was to keep it low glycemic. Now days we are transitioning to cut out oats. I started having....ok I omitted and gave in after being in denial a similar reaction to oats (10% of celiacs do if I recall) over a year ago. Anyway as for flour blends premade avoiding rice and grains try simple mills at https://www.simplemills.com/collections/all I have composed a huge list of various gluten-free goods here, even recently updated with grain free, and pizza section https://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/117090-gluten-free-food-alternatives-list/

Hello Everyone, New here and have joined because I couldn't find an answer to my question online. I was diagnosed after a long spell with anemia in 2015 and have been on the diet (and improving!) ever since. But I wonder whether how much rice I'm eating is very healthy. I have always liked to bake and it took awhile to find a flour mix I like (Cup 4 Cup - worth its weight in gold...), but a lot of gluten-free food subs in rice (white rice, brown rice, rice flour) plus I eat actual rice as a side dish. Is this too much? Keep in mind, I also eat salads like it's my job and love making vegetable soups too. Any advice on gluten-free foods (specifically flours) that don't fall back on rice as a substitute? I should add that I can't really get excited about quinoa, despite my best efforts. Thanks in advance.

I would say get retested, to be sure, do a gluten challenge with her where she eats gluten for 12 weeks, not much just a half slice of bread a day or a wheat cracker for the blood test and 2 weeks for the biopsy. You mentioned bumps, and dry patches...this might be DH from celiacs and if it is you can go to a dermatologist and they can test it. In some people with DH reactions to gluten, their intestines do not show much damage as most of the antibodies are directed elsewhere. In this case you would have your symptoms. Now Celiac is a autoimmune disease that commonly has other auto immune diseases associated with it. NOW if your daughter has the gene for it she could have another automimmune disease I am not very familiar with and someone else might be able to help you more on suggestions for testing. Now in my personal opinion it sounds like she was still getting into gluten when you said she was off of it. NOTE gluten is a tricky bugger, it is a protein smaller then a germ that can stick in cracks and scratches on all your utensils, food prep area, knifes, etc. As a flour it can hang in the air for hours and even be inhaled effecting some of us. It is present in a lot of things we do not consider, like makeup, playdough, shampoos, seasonings, sauces, even some dry wall spackles. Now if she is in a shared house hold with other kids and not everyone is on this diet she has likely been getting into gluten somewhere, like touching glutened surfaces the other kids touched after eating gluten foods then putting her hand in her mouth or on safe foods. Or just randomly eating gluten foods, note symptoms can last weeks and wane from how it is effecting you. It does not take much to trigger symptoms you might have to be more careful and move her to a whole foods only diet, and have a separate prep area, utensils, cooking zone for her if you wish to keep fixing separate meals for her vs the gluten family. I would suggest just changing the entire family over, anyway perhaps start with a separate fold out table, use freezer paper to line the prep area, a microwave, mini toaster oven, and some microwave cook ware like steamers, steam bags, etc. and using gloves to fix her meals. She will need her own condiment jars (crumbs in hte jars) and area for safe snacks. I would suggest getting her only gluten-free CERTIFIED FOODS for now. You can find some whole food healthy snacks at mygerbs.com, and a few other places. I will provide a link to gluten-free food list. PERHAPS you can change the entire family over....now days it is more like changing brands as everything you used to eat is available in a gluten-free brand. ALSO have a lot of dairy free options there. https://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/117090-gluten-free-food-alternatives-list/

Hi wondering if someone could help. my daughter has mildly raised TTG levels and the gliadine levels, she has one Coeliacs gene, but her biopsy came back negative. We have kept her off gluten (and low dairy) for nearly a year to see if her symptoms improved. They haven't. But I don't know if they are related to gluten specifically. Just wondering if anyone has other suggestions that may be going on with her. Her symptoms are: - Short stature, she's nearly 9 and my 6 year old boy is nearly bigger than her - bumps on back of her arms - urine leaking and occasional soiled pants, which could be from constipation she has at time's - sticking out stomach - dry patchy rashes on her face - joint pain sporadically - vomits every 6 weeks, but hasn't had gluten and seems to be no food connection - reoccurring thrush She had gluten last night at a party and was fine today. I'm a bit lost and not sure where else to turn. Thanks for any help.