Thyroid Disease and Celiac

This topic is mostly of interest to me because I have both thyroid disease and celiac. I wanted to learn more about the connection between them, if one exists. Autoimmune diseases are a mystery, especially when you develop more than one. I know that you are unlikely to develop celiac disease if you don’t have the genetic markers.

“Most people with celiac disease have gene pairs that encode for at least one of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) gene variants, or alleles, designated HLA-DQ2—found in 95 percent of people with the disease—and HLA-DQ8. However, these alleles are found in about 30 to 35 percent of Caucasians, and most people with the variants do not develop celiac disease.1 Negative findings for HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 make current or future celiac disease very unlikely in patients for whom other tests, including biopsy, do not provide a clear diagnostic result. An increased risk of developing celiac disease has recently been described in individuals who carry a new HLA-G I allele in addition to HLA-DQ2.5”

Source: NIH – NIDDK (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Click here for more information about testing for celiac disease.

It is unlikely that people without those genetic markers get celiac disease; however, people without those genetic markers can have thyroid disease. So where is the link between the two? So far it is unclear, but a study based in Sweden sheds some light on the likeliness of having both diseases. posted an article from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, October 2008.

According to a new study by doctors based in Sweden, people with celiac disease face a significantly higher risk of developing thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and thyroiditis.

The research team, led by Dr. Peter Elfstrom at Orebro University Hospital, reviewed Swedish national health records covering the period from 1963 to 2003. The team compared rates of thyroid disease for 14,000 people with celiac disease against some 68,000 non-celiac control subjects matched for age and gender.

The results showed that people with celiac disease are diagnosed with hypothyroidism more than four times as often as non-celiacs, with hyperthyroidism more than three times as often as non-celiacs, and with hyperthyroidism more than 3.6 times as often as non-celiacs. Moreover, the relationship works both ways: people with established hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and thyroiditis face much higher rates of celiac disease.

This article explains what Thyroid disease is and its relation to Celiac. To read the full article click here

Now I have the “what came first, the chicken or the egg question” I say this because my Celiac disease was diagnosed in 2009. My hyperthyroidism (Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disease) was diagnosed in 2011. By the time my thyroid disease was diagnosed my thyroid was already 80% scar tissue and had zero function. Needless to say, I am on Synthroid for the rest of my life. I often wonder how long it takes for your thyroid to destroy itself that bad. I can only assume that I had undiagnosed thyroid disease before I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I am still unclear, on which came first.

I hope this article was informative. If you have any of the symptoms of thyroid disease see your doctor. For symptoms of thyroid disease check out webmd.

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