Celiac disease was believed to be a childhood disease while it can affect any age.
Dr Raffaella Tortora and colleagues from Italy evaluated the prevalence of celiac disease in elderly population, recording the main clinical features of this group respect to young patients.
The team retrospectively analyzed the prevalence of celiac disease in an elderly population from 1970 to 2015.
The researchers divided patients into 3 age-groups, and compared them regarding baseline anthropometric and serological variables, clinical features at diagnosis, diagnostic mode, associated autoimmune diseases, and celiac disease-related neoplastic complications.
The team made 2812 celiac disease diagnoses in adults.
|3% were 65 years or older at diagnosis|
|Scandanavian Journal of Gastroenterology|
Of these, almost 3% were 65 years or older at diagnosis.
When comparing the groups, the research team found no differences in sex, hemoglobin, serum iron, albumin, and anti-tissue transglutaminase.
The team did, however, find higher values of cholesterol, glycemia, and triglycerides in older patients.
The researchers observed that the elderly had a higher risk of being diagnosed with malabsorption symptoms compared to younger patients.
No difference in the risk of autoimmune celiac disease-related diseases was seen among groups.
The team observed 16 neoplastic complications, 13 of them happened in the patients diagnosed with celiac disease aged 35–64 years.
The number of celiac disease diagnoses increased over time, particularly in elderly.
Dr Tortora's team concluded, "Celiac disease diagnosis in elderly population is quite uncommon although not rare."
"Elderly celiac disease patients have a higher risk of being diagnosed with malabsorption symptoms than younger patients but without increased risk of autoimmune and neoplastic complications."