Markers for Celiac Disease Diagnosis: Hidden Dangers and Effects

Don't Overlook Non-Gastrointestinal Flags for the Condition, Study Warns

Findings from new research conducted at Loyola Medicine report that the absence of gastrointestinal symptoms drastically prolongs the time to diagnosis of celiac disease, significantly increasing the risk for adverse effects from the condition. On average, patients who presented with GI symptoms were diagnosed with celiac disease in 2.3 months. Patients who did not report GI symptoms, but who exhibited other symptoms including anemia, thyroid dysfunction, liver abnormalities, osteoporosis and skin conditions, were not diagnosed with the disease for 3.5 years. The authors estimate that up to 6 of 7 patients with celiac disease, which affects 1% of the world population, are not diagnosed. The study conclusions were published in the American Journal of Medicine.

The study reviewed data from 101 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of celiac disease. 52 of these had presented with GI symptoms, and 49 had other non-GI symptoms. These included 43.2 % with thyroid abnormalities, 69.4% with anemia, and 68% with abnormal bone density. All of these symptoms were significantly less prevalent in the cohort who reported GI symptoms during presentation. The authors conclude that their findings suggest that patients who present with these non-GI symptoms should not be overlooked for celiac disease, since delayed diagnosis and treatment vis gluten avoidance can escalate their risk for fractures, infertility and cancer.

Read a news story about the findings here.

The journal abstract may be read here.

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