Celiac disease

Am J Manag Care. 2003 Dec;9(12):825-31; quiz 832-3.


Timely diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease is important not only to improve the immediate quality of life of the patient but also to decrease the long-term risks of untreated celiac disease. A large Finnish study showed that the 5-year survival among patients who strictly adhered to a gluten-free diet was similar to that of the general population. Growth and development in infants and children proceed normally with continued gluten avoidance, and in adults many of the disease complications including osteopenia are avoided. However, peripheral neuropathy, ataxia, and severe osteopenia, particularly in the setting of secondary hyperparathyroidism, usually persist. Enteropathyassociated T-cell lymphoma is widely recognized as a complication of celiac disease, and gluten restriction has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of this malignancy to the level of the general population. Whether gluten restriction is beneficial or should be recommended for patients with asymptomatic disease remains controversial. However, the available evidence suggests that this treatment is always indicated in patients showing celiac enteropathy, at least to prevent the possible long-term complications of this condition. Despite a dearth of evidence presently to support population-wide screening for celiac disease, patients at high-risk for celiac disease should be screened based on symptoms, family history, and associated conditions, as morbidity from subclinical disease in young patients has been demonstrated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Biopsy
  • Celiac Disease* / complications
  • Celiac Disease* / diagnosis
  • Celiac Disease* / physiopathology
  • Celiac Disease* / therapy
  • Diet, Protein-Restricted
  • Duodenum / pathology
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Glutens / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / complications
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Serologic Tests


  • Glutens