No Increased Mortality With Undiagnosed Celiac Disease

But risks for osteoporosis and hypothyroidism are increased among older undiagnosed adults
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Older individuals with undiagnosed celiac disease (CD) are at increased risk for osteoporosis and hypothyroidism compared to those without CD, but they do not have an increased mortality risk, according to a study in the September issue of Gastroenterology.

Jonathan D. Godfrey, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues analyzed tissue transglutaminase and endomysial antibodies in sera collected during 1995 to 2001 from 16,886 older Minnesotans (aged 50 and older) to identify cases of undiagnosed CD. The individuals with CD were compared to a serologically negative age- and sex-matched control group.

The researchers found that 0.8 percent of the cohort had undiagnosed CD at the time of sera collection (though some were subsequently diagnosed). Compared to controls, the undiagnosed CD individuals had increased risk of osteoporosis and hypothyroidism. The individuals with undiagnosed CD also had lower levels of ferritin than controls, lower levels of cholesterol, and lower body mass index. However, overall survival was not associated with CD status.

"As advances are made in testing for CD, based on the results of this study it is not clear that a net benefit for detection of undiagnosed CD or at least CD that remains truly asymptomatic has been proven. Longer follow-up evaluation and studies in other populations would be necessary," the authors write.

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