Anemia is considered to be an atypical or silent presentation of celiac disease, compared with the classic presentation with diarrhea.
However, little information is available about how these groups compare in terms of disease severity.
Dr Peter Green and colleagues from New york, USA compared the severity of celiac disease between patients who present with anemia vs those who present with diarrhea.
The study cohort was selected from a database of patients with celiac disease who were evaluated at a tertiary referral center between 1990 and 2011.
Severity of celiac disease was assessed by the degree of villous atrophy and clinical and serologic parameters.
|77% presented with diarrhea and 23% with anemia|
|Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
The researchers compared patients according to mode of presentation and sex.
The research team assessed the association between the mode of celiac disease presentation and cholesterol level, bone density, severity of villous atrophy, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and level of anti–tissue transglutaminase.
Of 727 patients, 77% presented with diarrhea and 23% with anemia.
The researchers found that presentation with anemia was associated with lower levels of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, a higher erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and level of anti–tissue transglutaminase.
The team noted that presentation with anemia was associated with lower level of cholesterol only in women.
Anemic patients were more than 2-fold more likely to have severe villous atrophy and a low bone mass density at the time they were diagnosed with celiac disease than patients who presented with diarrhea.
Dr Green's team concludes, "Celiac disease patients who present with anemia have more severe disease than those who present with diarrhea."
"There also appear to be sex-specific differences with regard to the association between anemia and the different features of celiac disease."