A new study from Sweden has established a link between unmanaged celiac disease and the risk of suffering a hip fracture.
Published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the study analyzed 7,146 Swedish celiac disease patients who were diagnosed between 1969 and 2008. All participants received follow-up biopsies within five years of being diagnosed with the disease. The follow-up biopsies revealed that nearly half of the group, 43 percent, had persistent damage to the digestive tract.
Those whose intestinal tissue did not heal were more likely to break a hip in the long term. Between the first and second biopsy, participants affected with persistent intestinal damage and participants whose intestines healed were equally susceptible to hip fractures within the first five years of diagnosis. However, after another five years passed, those with chronic damage to the small intestine were more likely to fracture a hip.
These findings suggest that patients with this condition face a higher risk of breaking a hip only if their tissue damage is chronic. According to one of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Jonas Ludvigsson: “Sticking to a gluten-free diet is crucial for minimizing tissue damage and reducing the risk of a serious fracture that could cause other complications.”
The study also underscores how a follow-up biopsy can help those with celiac disease predict whether or not they will suffer further complications in the future.