The prevalence of coeliac disease among female subjects having bone densitometry
Osteoporosis frequently complicates coeliac disease but most studies focus on symptomatic patients at the time of diagnosis. Screening tests have revealed that many individuals with coeliac disease have mild, atypical, or absent symptoms.
To evaluate the relationship between coeliac disease and osteopenia or osteoporosis in female subjects attending for bone densitometry.
We studied 371 female subjects attending for bone densitometry, without secondary causes of osteoporosis and included those with normal and with reduced bone mineral density. Mineral density was measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Screening for coeliac disease was by measurement of anti-endomysial antibody by indirect immunofluorescence.
Two of 115 (1.7%) female subjects with normal bone density and five of 256 (1.9%) female subjects with sub-normal bone density were positive for endomysial antibody. Five subjects who underwent small bowel biopsy had histological changes suggestive of coeliac disease.
In females referred for bone densitometry, endomysial antibody positivity was not more prevalent among those with reduced bone mineral density. Examining only patients with clinically detected coeliac disease may overestimate the frequency of complications. This study does not support population screening for coeliac disease in an area with a high frequency of the condition.
KeywordsBone Mineral Density Osteoporosis Bone Density Coeliac Disease Bone Densitometry
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