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Celiac Disease, Autoimmune Diseases and Exposure to Gluten

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2005 Apr;40(4):437-43.

Celiac.com 07/28/2005 - In an effort to determine whether gluten exposure in those with celiac disease can cause additional autoimmune diseases, Finnish researchers evaluated the frequency of autoimmune disorders in 703 adults and children with celiac disease, and compared them with 299 controls (normal duodenal histology). For each person in the study the researchers assessed the effect of age at the end of follow-up, age at diagnosis; actual gluten exposure time; and the gender and diagnostic delay time. They then determined autoimmune disease incidence figures that were expressed as a dependent variable via logistic regression analysis (per 10,000 person-years).

The researchers found that the celiac disease group had a significantly higher prevalence of additional autoimmune diseases that was not affected by exposure to gluten.

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Additional Comments on this Study by Roy Jamron:

Autoimmune disease has a high prevalence in celiacs. The following study concludes that the duration of gluten exposure in celiacs is not a significant factor in the risk of developing autoimmune disease. One diagnosed late in life with celiac disease does not appear to be at greater risk for developing autoimmune disease. This seems counter-intuitive, but there may be a good explanation for this result.

Studies in the UK and Italy have demonstrated that the prevalence of celiac disease in young children is essentially the same as in adults, meaning celiac disease begins in infancy. Infancy is the critical time period for the development of the immune system. Gluten exposure and the onset of celiac disease symptoms early in life, therefore, have a much greater and more important impact on the immune system and its development than exposure to gluten later in life. Malabsorption during infancy and early childhood can also adversely affect the crucial function of the thymus, T cell production, and T cell repertoire. So the stage is set early in life rather than later for increased risk of autoimmune disease. The timing of gluten exposure in life seems to be more critical to autoimmune disease risk rather than the overall lifetime duration of gluten exposure. It is, therefore, extremely important to diagnose celiac disease and initiate a gluten-free diet as soon as possible during infancy and young childhood to lower the risk of autoimmune disease later in life.

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1 Response:

 
Robert Johnson, MD
Rating: ratingfullratingemptyratingemptyratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
02 Dec 2010 5:27:27 PM PDT
Gives virtually no info. What is the risk index and what EXACTLY are the autoimmune diseases listed that rise above and index of 1.0.




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It took me 20 years or more Barry so I wouldn't claim any great insight on this I had a 'eureka' moment, up until then I was walking around with multiple symptoms and not connecting any dots whatsoever. It is very, very difficult to diagnose and that's something that's reflected in so many of the experiences detailed here. A food diary may help in your case. It helped me to connect the gaps between eating and onset. It could help you to track any gluten sources should you go gluten free. It is possible for your reactions to change over time. As to whether its celiac, that's something you could explore with your doctor, stay on gluten if you choose to go that way. best of luck! Matt

I took Zoloft once. Loved it until it triggered microscopic colitis (colonoscopy diagnosed it). Lexapro did the same. However, I have a family member who is fiagnosed celiac and tolerates Celexa well.

Thanks for the update and welcome to the club you never wanted to join! ?

Jmg, I am glad you were able to come to the realisation that the culprit was in fact gluten. For me its not so simple. IBS runs in the family, as do several food intolerances. Its just in the last while that I can finally reach the conclusion that for me its gluten. The fact that it is a delayed effect-several hours after, made it harder. Friday I had some KFC, felt great. Saturday evening felt sleepy, Sunday felt awful and my belly was huge. I think I have gone from mildly sensitive to full blown celiac over the course of five years-if that possible. Thanks for all your help.

I thought I'd take a moment to provide an update, given how much lurking I've done on these forums the last year. It took a long time, but I've since had another gastroenterologist visit, many months of eating tons of bread, and an endoscopy where they took several biopsies. I have to say, the endoscopy was a super quick and efficient experience. During the procedure they let me know that it looked somewhat suspicious, causing them to take many biopsies, and then did comprehensive blood work. About a month later, I received a call telling me that the TTG came back positive a second time, and that the biopsies were a mix of negative (normal) results and some that were positive (showing blunting of the villi). As a result, I've been given a celiac diagnosis. It's been about a month now that I've been eating gluten free. Not sure if I'm really feeling all that different yet. It's a bit twisted to say, but in some way I was hoping for this diagnosis ? thinking how nice it would be to have an explanation, a plan of action, and feeling better. It's certainly no small change to be totally gluten free, but I'm hopeful.