According to a new study, ten years after a diagnosis of celiac disease, people with the condition are no more likely to die from cancer or cardiovascular disease than the general population. People with celiac disease were, in fact, slightly less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than others in the new study.
When people with celiac disease, a hereditary condition, eat gluten, their immune systems respond by damaging the small intestine. As many as two million Americans may have the condition, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but most do not know it.
The researchers used a large UK database of primary care records between 1998 and 2012 to identify nearly 11,000 people with celiac disease, and more than 100,000 similar people without celiac disease as a comparison group. Of the 10,825 patients with celiac disease, 773 died, which was similar to the mortality rate in the comparison group. There was no overall difference in rates of respiratory disease, digestive disease or cancer-related death, according to the results.
Dr. Jonas F. Ludvigsson, a pediatrician and epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institute and Örebro University Hospital in Sweden said, “This study adds to existing modern data that show that celiac disease is not as dangerous as previously thought. This is a large well-designed study suggesting that celiac patients in England, and likely elsewhere in the Western world, are at no increased risk of death,” he told Reuters Health by email. “That is indeed very good news.”