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Revista Española de Enfermedades Digestivas

Print version ISSN 1130-0108


FERNANDEZ, A.; GONZALEZ, L.  and  FUENTE, J. de la. Coeliac disease: clinical features in adult populations. Rev. esp. enferm. dig. [online]. 2010, vol.102, n.8, pp.466-471. ISSN 1130-0108.

Introduction: coeliac disease (CD) is a chronic disease of the small intestine, which is caused by gluten intolerance, producing malabsorption of nutrients and vitamins. Clinical manifestations of CD in adults are highly variable, including intestinal and extra-intestinal symptoms. The disease may also occur in individuals who are asymptomatic. Objective: our objective is to describe the incidence and clinical manifestations of CD in adults. Material and methods: a retrospective study was carried out in patients diagnosed of CD between January 1990 and December 2008. Diagnosis was based on serologic tests and duodenal biopsy, which were compatible with CD in all of them. Results: sixty eight adult patients were diagnosed of CD in this period. Mean age was 33 (18-65) years and 50 (74%) were women. The clinical manifestations were diarrhoea in 38 (55%), abdominal pain in 27 (40%), loss of weight in 15 (22%), dyspepsia in 13 (19%). Analytical results showed a slight increase of transaminases in 26 (38%), ferropenic anaemia in 33 (48.5%) cases, sub-clinical hypothyroidism in 3 (4.5%) patients, and folic acid deficiency in 16 (23.5%) cases. Almost all patients were diagnosed between 2000 and 2008: 60 (87%). Population-based incidence of CD in adults had increased from 0.7-2/100,000 per year in the nineties to 3.5-10.3/100,000 in the last years. Conclusions: CD can appear at any age and with a wide manifestation spectrum, which can be atypical in some cases. Patients with ferropenic anaemia and a negative response to treatment or those with an unexplained increase in transaminases should be screening for CD. Atypical manifestations and low suspect index can delay diagnosis even during years. There is a marked increase in the incidence-rates of CD in adults over time.

Keywords : Coeliac disease; Incidence; Anti-transglutaminase antibodies; Gluten-free diet; Autoimmune disorders.

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