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Higher Cataract Risk for People with Celiac Disease


New research on cataract risk and celiac disease.

Celiac.com 07/20/2011 - People with celiac disease commonly have nutritional deficiencies that may leave them at higher risk for developing cataracts, according to a new study, led by Dr. Kaziwe Mollazadegan, of Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. The results of Dr. Mollazadegan's research team were presented in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

The population-based cohort study was undertaken in order to to determine the risk of cataract among persons with biopsy-verified celiac disease. The research team included Kaziwe Mollazadegan, Maria Kugelberg, Birgitta Ejdervik Lindblad and Jonas F. Ludvigsson.

For the study, they collected data on celiac disease from reports on small intestinal biopsies performed between July 1969 and February 2008 in the 28 regional pathology departments in Sweden. They then compared those results to data from up to five age- and sex-matched controls for each patient. The team then used Cox regression analysis to estimate cataract risk.

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They found 28,756 persons with clinically celiac disease, that is, with confirmed Marsh pathology stage 3 villous atrophy.

For the average follow-up period of about ten years, the researchers found 1,159 cases of cataracts among people with celiac disease, compared with an projection of 909 cases, based on the general population. With a hazard ratio of 1.28, 95% confidence interval: 1.19, 1.36. The team found that the absolute risk of cataract was 397/100,000 person-years for those with celiac disease, with an excess risk of 86/100,000 person-years.

This study confirms that people with celiac disease face a slightly increased risk of developing cataracts, compared with the general population.

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6 Responses:

 
Hallie
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said this on
24 Jul 2011 7:09:31 PM PDT
Many of the gluten-free flours have a much higher glycemic index than wheat flour. The higher blood glucose gets metabolized to increased amounts of sorbitol. Sorbitol is believed to contribute to cataract formation. And yes, there is such a thing as diabetic cataracts, precisely because of that.

 
Deborah
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said this on
25 Jul 2011 8:58:28 AM PDT
It's great that Jefferson keeps us up on all the latest research! The thing I always wonder is whether these subjects are eating gluten free diets; and if so, how carefully?

Another influence on cataracts is the amount of animal products in the diet. When giving up gluten, it's tempting to slide into a sort of Atkins style diet, using animal products to replace wheat/gluten products. Meat, dairy, eggs etc are risk factors for developing cataracts.

According to another study recently published on cataracts, people eating a vegan diet (no animal products, only plant foods) had a much lower risk of cataracts compared to the general population.

We eat a gluten free, vegan diet. Although that might seem horrifyingly restricted at first glace, I can assure you from many years of personal experience, it offers a varied, nutritious and delicious culinary palate! It does take some thought but then, what healthy diet doesn't?!

 
Margaret
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said this on
25 Jul 2011 9:34:44 AM PDT
I found this very interesting. I was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of 53. At age 54 I was diagnosed with cataracts and have had the surgery.

 
Catherine Becker
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said this on
25 Jul 2011 1:27:53 PM PDT
In 1997 I had to have both eyes corrected, and the doctor couldn't believe how bad my cataracts were. I was 58 at the time. He said I eyes of an 80 year old. In 2001 I was diagnosed with CD. I had epelseys also. I've been on a GF diet now for ten years and haven't had a seizure in five years, in fact they had to lower my Dilante because I was falling all the time and my Dilanten level was really high. Six years ago I had to have colon cancer surgery resection, removing the cecum. I so much better now.

 
Jodi
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said this on
25 Jul 2011 3:57:29 PM PDT
I would like to know what nutritional deficiencies were found, whether the subjects were on a gluten free diet, how long they were on the diet, and at what age they were diagnosed with celiac disease vs what age they were diagnosed with cataracts.

 
marie
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said this on
26 Jul 2011 9:02:38 AM PDT
My daughter was tested positive thru biopsy for celiac in April 2011 (age 9) and within the last 6 months has developed a cataract.




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You only need one positive on the celiac panel. I tested positive only to the DGP IgA and had a Marsh Stage IIIB intestinal damage. Good luck!

Welcome to the forum. First, you need to get copies of your celiac test to confirm you actually had it done and what the results were. Second, to confirm a diagnosis, you must obtain biopsies via an endoscopy. Were the doctors gastroenterologists? Third you need to research celiac disease. Yes, you can be asymptomatic, but could still have instestinal damage as the small intestine is vast. here is a good place to start: http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/screening/ You might think you are a silent celiac, but ever been anemic? Had your bones checked?

That's good to know about Texas Children's, unfortunately I don't believe they accept our insurance. Our former pediatrician joined with one of their medical groups and we had to find a new one due to insurance. I'll check out their site though.

9 months ago I went to my doctor for normal blood work. She called me to tell me everything looked great, but o yeah, my gluten sensitivity levels were extremely high. I should probably stop eating gluten since it looks like I have celiac. She hung up and I never heard from her again. I cut out gluten completely, even though I have never experienced one single symptom of celiac. 9 months later, I decided to reach out to another doctor to get a second opinion, as I experienced absolutely zero change on 9 months of strict gluten free diet. All this doctor did was request the results from the previous doctor, tell me it is confirmed I have celiac, and hung up the phone. This angers me tremendously on two counts. One, I have absolutely zero symptoms of celiac, and would NEVER know if I was "glutened". Two, the complete lack of information or support from both doctors is horrifying to me. And finally, I simply do not believe the diagnosis and as considering just starting to eat a normal diet again. I would never know the difference. I am really just venting because this situation upsets me so much, and I have suffered mentally and socially from going gluten free. Since I have absolutely zero symptoms, even if I was actually celiac, I highly doubt anything would ever come of it if I continued to eat gluten. I could just pretend I never heard from either terrible doctor and go on living my life. Someone has to have been in the same situation as me, right?

Texas children's hospital in the med center has a celiac center now. https://www.texaschildrens.org/departments/celiac-disease-clinic Good luck!