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Patients with Autoimmune Thyroid Disease Risk Developing Secondary Autoimmune Conditions

Celiac.com 02/10/2010 - A team of researchers recently set out to determine whether patients with autoimmune thyroid disease risk developing secondary autoimmune disorders, and whether such diseases tend to cluster in families.

The research team included Kristien Boelaert, PhD, Paul R. Newbya, Matthew J. Simmonds, PhD, Roger L. Holderb, Jacqueline D. Carr-Smitha, Joanne M. Heward, PhD, Nilusha Manjia, Amit Allahabadia, MD, Mary Armitage, DM, Krishna V. Chatterjee, PhD, John H. Lazarus, MD, Simon H. Pearce, PhD, Bijay Vaidya, PhD, Stephen C. Gough, PhD, Jayne A. Franklyn, PhD.

To properly assess the prevalence of coexisting autoimmune disorders, the team conducted a cross-sectional multi-center study of 3286 Caucasian patients at UK hospital thyroid clinics. 2791 of the patients had Graves' disease, while 495 had Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

Patients completed a comprehensive questionnaire detailing personal and parental history of common autoimmune disorders, along with a history of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism among parents.

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The frequency of developing another autoimmune disorder was 9.67% in Graves' disease and 14.3% in Hashimoto's thyroiditis index cases (P=.005). Rheumatoid arthritis was the most common coexisting autoimmune disorder, striking 3.15% of those with Graves' disease and 4.24% of those with Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

Relative risks of almost all other autoimmune diseases in Graves' disease or Hashimoto's thyroiditis were significantly increased (>10 for pernicious anemia, systemic lupus erythematosus, Addison's disease, celiac disease, and vitiligo).

Results showed relative “clustering” of Graves' disease, and of Hashimoto's thyroiditis, among patients whose parents had hyperthyroidism. Moreover, most other coexisting autoimmune disorders showed markedly increased relative risks for patients with parental history of such disorders.

This effort to quantify the risk of diagnosis of coexisting autoimmune diseases in more than 3000 index cases with well-characterized Graves' disease or Hashimoto's thyroiditis represents one of the most comprehensive studies yet completed.

The elevated risks for developing multiple conditions emphasizes the importance of screening for other autoimmune diagnoses in subjects with autoimmune thyroid disease who present new or nonspecific symptoms.

Source: American Journal of Medicine - Volume 123, Issue 2, Pages 183.e1-183.e9 - February 2010

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2 Responses:

 
Karen
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said this on
02 Mar 2010 2:31:35 AM PDT
Wow, this article could have been written about me! I have been diagnosed with autoimmune disorders starting with thyroid issues for 15 years. More and more autoimmune issues have compounded over the years until last week I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance disease. I was gluten free for one week when I accidentally ate something with gluten and got more sick than I can ever remember being. It ended up with a trip to the doctor for cat scans, blood tests for celiac (still pending) and a stomach the size of a 7 month pregnant woman. I have a 4 month old and they made me get a pregnancy test because I looked so pregnant...how embarrassing! Needless to say, this past week has changed my life. I have children that have autistic tendencies and they will be going gluten-free too. Thank you for this site and for this article. I have been immersing myself in learning everything and may even write my own book by the time I am through. There is not enough media attention about gluten intolerance...there should be laws requiring disclosure of gluten in products to protect all of us. Thank you again for this article!

 
Cathi
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said this on
17 May 2010 9:27:43 PM PDT
This is a yes for me too. .Five years ago I was diagnosed as having Hasimotos Thyroid Disease, then I ended up with Moderate Adrenal Fatigue, and just three weeks ago I was tested for Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Sprue. I have the DNA gene for both. My Question is what came first. Most likely the DNA gene. But what activated the craziness my body is going through? I guess that is the million dollar answer! Let's just hope that I found out soon enough and with a gluten-free diet maybe this craziness will stop. I am tired of be sick all the time.




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We have gone gluten free, our whole house, as of a month ago. It was pretty seamless since I had been gluten-free for 5 months last year. I have found many good recipes, and my picky husband and one of my boys who is also a picky eater, even prefer many gluten-free recipes to the regular ones. My husband did see my point about the size of the gluten protein means nothing. Its a gluten protein period, that's what you are avoiding. It doesn't matter if its hiding in the scratch of your baking sheet and you can't see it. You can't see the wind, but it's still there. I hear you on the anemia. I've been anemic for several years, I just thought it as because I was getting a little older. Has your anemia gone away or do you still have problems with it?

Ennis, it is made out of metal, coated with plastic I think. You have such a hard time, my heart really hurts for you. But you are such a support to those on this board, and a great teacher for those of us who are new.

Thanks everyone! I think its hard for people to fully accept because they cant see the damage it does every time you get glutened. It's invisible. Im glad to know I wasnt being paranoid. I sure was when I was first diagnosed. I laugh at myself now, but its a pretty steep learning curve.

FYI......anxiety is a common symptom with celiac disease and NCGI. It seems to resolve on a gluten-free diet. ?

Yes, I will definitely update you and would love to hear what your experience is. I'm glad I found this forum because you're right--it's nice to not feel so alone. I'm also prone to anxiety--so waiting and worrying is not fun! Cyclinglady, thanks for sharing your experience as well. I do plan to maintain a gluten-free diet for a while at least if the biopsy is negative just to see how I feel.