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Celiac disease increases consumers’ risk of premature death

Researchers say the disease increases the risk of several other serious health conditions

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Consumers have become much more conscious of gluten, with many people cutting it out of their diet completely. But despite that changing trend, researchers have found that those suffering from the worst kind of gluten intolerance are still dying young. 

Recent study findings using nationwide data show that those who have celiac disease have a higher risk of dying prematurely. 

"We have known that celiac disease can cause a number of long-term complications that can impact life expectancy, but this study examines an entire population in the most recent era, at a time when awareness of celiac disease and access to gluten-free food is widespread," explained first author Benjamin Lebwohl, Director of Clinical Research at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. "Despite this, we found that celiac disease is associated with long-term consequences."

Increases risk of several health conditions

The researchers suggest that the driving force behind this increased risk of death was inflammation. The symptom is a hallmark of celiac disease, but it can also be a major symptom of other serious conditions.

The study findings showed that consumers who had celiac disease were more likely to develop other dangerous diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease. Increased risk of death was found for all age groups that were studied, but they were the greatest in consumers who were diagnosed between the ages of 18 and 39. 

The researchers found that increased mortality risk was also greatest in the first year after diagnosis. "The intestinal inflammation is often most intense around diagnosis, and before a gluten-free diet has had an effect on mucosal healing,” explained study author Jonas F Ludvigsson. 

The full study has been published in JAMA. 

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