February 24, 2012
CHICAGOPeople with celiac disease may have an increased risk for developing osteoporosis because they do not get the proper amount of the nutrients calcium and vitamin D necessary for bone function, which leads to rapid bone destruction and severe osteoporosis, according to a new research conducted at Loyola University Health System (LUHS).
Many people with celiac disease go on to develop osteoporosis later in life," said Pauline Camacho, MD, director of the LUHS Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease Center. We attribute this to the fact that patients with celiac disease do not get the proper amount of nutrients necessary for bone function, which leads to rapid bone destruction and severe osteoporosis."
The researchers examined the association between osteoporosis and Celiac disease among family members and found an interesting trend.
Rebecca Bobel, 71, fractured her pelvis, hip and tailbone at age 50. She was diagnosed with osteoporosis at the time and doctors later learned that she carries the gene for celiac disease. She also went on to develop hypothyroidism, another autoimmune disorder, and vitamin D deficiency, which is common in people with these disorders.
Bobels daughter, Kim Lewis, 47, learned that she had celiac disease and vitamin D deficiency after she stopped absorbing her medication for hypothyroidism. She has since switched to a gluten-free diet and has started taking calcium, magnesium and vitamin D supplements. The lifestyle changes have allowed her to ward off osteoporosis; however, she continues to get screened yearly for the disease and quarterly for her other autoimmune disorders.
Lewis niece Nicole Gaynor, 31, was diagnosed with celiac disease in the last year after she experienced prolonged symptoms of bloating. She has since made rigorous diet changes that have stopped her celiac disease from progressing. She also has been treated successfully for hypothyroidism and vitamin D deficiency.
People with one autoimmune disorder are at risk for developing other autoimmune disorders," Dr. Camacho said. This was extremely apparent with the Bobel family where we saw more than one disorder in each family member we treated."
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