Hypoparathyroidism and co-existing celiac disease

J Endocrinol Invest. 2004 Sep;27(8):778-81. doi: 10.1007/BF03347523.


A 62-yr-old woman with idiopathic hypoparathyroidism was admitted to our hospital for severe anemia (Hb 5.6 gr/dl) and hypoalbuminemia (3.2 gr/dl). Hypoparathyroidism was diagnosed when she was 33 yr old, because of repeated hypocalcemic tetanic crises, low calcium and high phosphate levels. Since then she has been treated with oral calcium gluconate and calcitriol, with satisfactory clinical balance and normalization of calcium serum levels. After menopause, despite this therapy, the patient still had frequent hypocalcemic tetanic crises, resolving with iv administration, in high doses, of calcium gluconate. The anemia, for which the patient came to our attention, was hypochromic microcytic and in the past she had been treated with iron and transfusion therapy. The patient's recent history also revealed recurrent long lasting episodes of diarrhea, hyporexia and weight loss. The clinical presentation seemed related to a malabsorption syndrome: a celiac disease (CD) diagnosis was confirmed, based upon the finding, at duodenal biopsy, of a severe villous atrophy. A bone mineral density (BMD) evaluation showed a limited reduction of femoral values classified as osteopenia according to the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria. Thereafter, the patient was instructed to follow a gluten-free diet which rapidly led to an improvement of the nutritional parameters and to a reduction of calcium and vitamin D requirements. Difficult clinical and metabolic control in hypoparathyroidism patients may suggest the possible co-existence of both endocrine and extra-endocrine autoimmune diseases, such as CD. Moreover, bone density, normally reduced in celiac patients, seems to be preserved (maintained) by the lack of parathyroid secretion.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / pathology
  • Celiac Disease / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoparathyroidism / complications*
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / complications
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / physiology