Coeliac disease has been linked with a number of conditions. In many cases, it is unclear whether the gluten-induced bowel disease is a causative factor or whether these conditions share a common predisposition.
- IgA deficiency is present in 2.3% of patients with coeliac disease, and in turn, this condition features a tenfold increased risk of coeliac disease. Other features of this condition are an increased risk of infections and autoimmune disease.
- Dermatitis herpetiformis; this itchy cutaneous condition has been linked to a transglutaminase enzyme in the skin, features small-bowel changes identical to those in coeliac disease, and may respond to gluten withdrawal even if there are no gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Growth failure and/or pubertal delay in later childhood can occur even without obvious bowel symptoms or severe malnutrition. Evaluation of growth failure often includes coeliac screening.
- Recurrent miscarriage and unexplained infertility.
- Hyposplenism (a small and underactive spleen); this occurs in about a third of cases and may predispose to infection given the role of the spleen in protecting against bacteria.
- Abnormal liver function tests (randomly detected on blood tests).
Coeliac disease is associated with a number of other medical conditions, many of which are autoimmune disorders: diabetes mellitus type 1, autoimmune thyroiditis, primary biliary cirrhosis, and microscopic colitis.
A more controversial area is a group of diseases in which anti-gliadin antibodies (an older and non-specific test for coeliac disease) are sometimes detected, but no small bowel disease can be demonstrated. Sometimes, these conditions improve by removing gluten from the diet. This includes cerebellar ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, schizophrenia and autism.
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