coeliac disease and osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a thinning of bones which makes them more fragile and prone to breaking following a small fall or bump.
Unfortunately, there is an increased risk of developing osteoporosis in those who have coeliac disease
due to a deficiency in calcium, the mineral required to help maintain strong, healthy bones.
During the period when the condition is undiagnosed there is an increased risk of calcium deficiency due to inadequate absorption.
As many as 50% of people with coeliac disease may develop osteoporosis and more than 75% of untreated adults with coeliac disease may have a reduced bone mineral density (BMD). Therefore, it is recommended that adults with coeliac disease have a higher daily calcium intake to help reduce their risk. Your dietitian can help with this by assessing the current level of calcium in your diet. An easy way to increase your level of calcium is to include calcium-rich foods in a well-balanced diet such as:
- Dairy products (try to aim for lower fat versions)
- Tinned fish
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Pulses (e.g. red kidney beans, baked beans)
- Fortified gluten free products
One of the benefits of treatment with a gluten free diet of prepubertal, symptomatic children with coeliac disease is the potential for bone remineralisation.
What is coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition brought on by an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye*.
Is coeliac disease genetic?
There is a genetic element to coeliac disease which makes certain individuals more susceptible to the condition than others.
What is dermatitis herpetiformis?
Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is a skin condition caused by an intolerance to gluten and is considered as the skin ‘symptom’ of coeliac disease.
What are the symptoms of coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease has a wide range of symptoms but if you are at all affected by tiredness, anaemia, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, weight loss, vomiting and mouth ulcers then this may be an indication that you have coeliac disease.
How do I get diagnosed with coeliac disease?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of coeliac disease, it is important that you make an appointment to see your doctor to confirm diagnosis.
How is coeliac disease managed?
Coeliac disease is a life long condition, treated by excluding gluten from your diet. With this treatment, you should feel better in a short space of time and remain so for the rest of your life.
Codex wheat starch
A number of gluten free foods contain Codex wheat starch, which has had the gluten washed out to a trace level so is considered safe for people with coeliac disease.
Support for those living with coeliac disease
For those people who have been diagnosed and don’t have a friend or family member suffering coeliac disease it can be quite scary.
Coeliac disease and diabetes
There is a proven link between type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease, with people with type 1 diabetes being more likely to develop a sensitivity to gluten.
Coeliac disease and pregnancy
Pregnancy is an important time during which women with coeliac disease should be regularly followed up.