Background and objective: Coeliac disease is treated with a lifelong gluten-free diet (GFD). The aim of our study was to investigate whether the dietary (nondietary) compliance is associated with health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of coeliac patients.
Methods: Patients from our hospital, known with coeliac disease for more than 10 years, were invited to participate in a study on possible gluten tolerance. HRQoL was assessed by the Short Form-36 health survey, symptoms by the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale and dietary compliance by a food frequency questionnaire. HRQoL of coeliac patients was compared with that of the general population.
Results: Fifty-three biopsy-confirmed coeliac patients were divided into three groups according to gluten consumption: GFD (n = 33), gluten transgression (<10 g gluten/day; n = 8) and normal gluten-containing diet (>10 g gluten/day; n = 12). Compared with the general population, coeliac patients scored significantly worse on general health perception but significantly better on bodily pain and limitations due to physical problems. The results of the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale and the Short Form-36 health survey were similar in all three dietary groups.
Conclusion: Although adhering to the GFD is strictly important to prevent future complications, patients who stop following GFD do exist and patients with partial or nonadherence report similar HRQoL compared with patients with strict adherence in this group of adult coeliac patients.