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Complications of coeliac disease

  • People with undiagnosed coeliac disease or those who are not following a strict gluten free diet are at a higher risk of long term complications, including osteoporosis, ulcerative jejunitis, intestinal malignancy, functional hyposplenism, vitamin D deficiency and iron deficiency [1]

The NICE guideline on the recognition, assessment and management of coeliac disease provides information on the long term complications associated with coeliac disease.

NICE recommends that at diagnosis people and their parents or carers should be informed that a delayed diagnosis of coeliac disease, or undiagnosed coeliac disease, can result in continuing ill health and serious long term complications, including osteoporosis, ulcerative jejunitis, intestinal malignancy, functional hypospenism, vitamin D deficiency and iron deficiency. In children, delayed diagnosis can lead to growth failure, delayed puberty and dental problems.

Although there is an increased risk of the specific cancers associated with undiagnosed coeliac disease, the overall risk of developing these cancers is low.

[1] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence NG20 (2015) Coeliac disease: recognition, assessment and management 2015

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