Assume you’ve actually been living for years with untreated celiac disease? Untreated celiac disease can result in a variety of nutrient deficiencies and people can develop complications that require immediate attention.
A 2013 Dutch study in the journal Nutrients investigated the prevalence of vitamin and mineral deficiencies in patients with newly diagnosed untreated celiac disease.
Weight status was also analyzed. Despite what you might expect, some of the newly diagnosed untreated celiac patients were overweight. We often associate being pleasantly plumped with not having deficiencies but in reality this is not so. A high association of obesity at diagnosis of celiac disease exist and this population is just as vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies.
This study, albeit a small one, emphasizes the importance of an accurate and speedy diagnosis of untreated celiac disease. Once a diagnosis is made, we must investigate and correct nutritional deficiencies.
I highly recommend that all patients follow up with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) who specializes in providing therapy to people with celiac disease. He/she can help you correct nutrient deficiencies, minimize long-term health complications, navigate the nuances of the gluten-free diet and make supplement recommendations as needed.
Additional tests might also be required. For example, years of untreated celiac disease can weaken your bones so your doctor or RDN might recommend a bone density scan to assess your bone health. Early detection can help reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.
If you suspect that you feel better without gluten then please talk to your doctor about being tested for celiac disease. If you have celiac disease then please talk to your doctor or RDN about appropriate blood work for nutrient deficiencies.
Let’s work together to ensure an early diagnosis of celiac so that we can prevent harmful nutrient deficiencies.