Rates of celiac disease are significantly higher in patients with osteoporosis, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. They recommend using blood tests to screen osteoporosis patients for celiac disease because their study has shown that treating celiac disease with diet can restore bone health in these patients.
Celiac disease is an intestinal disorder caused by intolerance to wheat flour (gluten). The investigators evaluated 840 people, 266 patients with osteoporosis and 547 without the bone disease. Through blood tests and endoscopic intestinal biopsies, they found nine osteoporosis patients also had celiac disease compared to only one of the 574 patients who didnt have osteoporosis.
"Our results suggest that as many as three to four percent of patients who have osteoporosis have the bone disease as a consequence of having celiac disease, which makes them unable to absorb normal amounts of calcium and vitamin D," says principal investigator William F. Stenson, M.D., a Washington University physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. The study is reported in the Feb. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
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