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Coeliac Disease: New research indicates it is a silent cause of bone loss

Preliminary findings from the Keogh Institute’s study into osteoporosis and coeliac disease have been presented at the Australasian Menopause Society’s 2015 conference.

The study has reaffirmed that coeliac disease can act silently and present via other medical conditions. Although it is considered that people with coeliac disease should be presented via gastric symptoms, our study found this not to be the case. In fact, nearly half of our participants with coeliac disease did not recognise any symptoms prior to diagnosis. When coeliac disease continues untreated damage occurs to the digestive system which prevents nutrients from being absorbed. This chronic malabsorption can result in a wide range of health problems including osteoporosis and iron deficiency. It is often through the diagnosis of these conditions that the coeliac disease is discovered.

coeliac gut

A comparision of the intestine of a person with and without celiac disease

 

This finding has important implications for both people diagnosed with coeliac disease and people diagnosed with osteoporosis.

 

 

Osteoporosis

As the chronic malabsorption of nutrients can result in osteoporosis.  It is the recommendation of lead researcher Prof. Stuckey that the possibility of coeliac disease being a causative factor for osteoporosis  be excluded via testing for coeliac disease.

Coeliac Disease

People who are diagnosed with coeliac disease should be assessed for any damage resulting from the gastric damage. This is particularly important when this diagnosis occurs later in life as was the case for many participants in our study. In the case of osteoporosis this can be done via a bone density scan.

 

You can find out more about the study from the study abstract or presentation.

 

Still under investigation

We would like to learn more about the implications of osteoporosis for people with coeliac disease. To do this, we need more participants.

We are still looking for people with coeliac disease and/or osteoporosis to participate in the study. Participation in the study involves the completion of a 15 minute online survey.

 

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