Coeliac disease and Osteoporosis
If you have coeliac disease, there are some related conditions to be aware of, that could either be present when you are diagnosed or develop at a later stage.
Type 1 diabetes and autoimmune thyroid disease
Coeliac disease is an ‘autoimmune’ condition that affects around 1% of the general population. If you have one type of autoimmune condition, there is a higher chance that you may suffer from another one. This is because many autoimmune diseases share a common genetic link. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, people with this condition have a 4-9% risk of developing coeliac disease. There is a 1-4% chance of someone with autoimmune thyroid disease developing coeliac disease.
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes the bones to become weak and fragile. Osteoporosis is common in people with undiagnosed or untreated coeliac disease. This is because damage to the gut, caused by gluten, prevents the body from absorbing enough calcium. Many people who are diagnosed with coeliac disease have often been poorly absorbing calcium for some time.
Lactose is the name given to the natural sugar found in animal milks. Lactose is broken-down in the gut by the enzyme ‘lactase’. Lactase is produced in the delicate cells lining the small intestine, damage to these cells caused by coeliac disease can result in lactose in intolerance (an inability to digest lactose). Symptoms of lactose intolerance include diarrhoea, wind and bloating. Once a gluten-free diet has been introduced and the gut has recovered, lactose intolerance is likely to resolve.