The presenting symptoms of celiac disease are often subtle and the diagnosis is frequently delayed or overlooked.
Therefore, especially elderly patients may be denied the benefits conferred by gluten free diet which can be dramatically life-changing.
Professor Collin and colleagues from Finland reviewed the occurrence, clinical features, diagnosis and management in celiac patients detected later in life.
The team also reviewed manuscripts concerned with celiac disease in the elderly and derived subgroups of elderly people from publications on the disorder.
|Good compliance with gluten free diet can resolve symptoms in over 90% of patients|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
Approximately a quarter of all diagnoses are now made at the age of 60 years or more and a fifth at 65 years or over.
About 4% are diagnosed at 80 years or above.
The researchers found around 60% remain undetected, since their symptoms are often subtle: tiredness, indigestion, reduced appetite.
Good compliance with gluten free diet, resolution of symptoms and improvement in laboratory indices can be achieved in over 90% of patients.
Professor Collin's team comments, "Celiac disease not uncommonly presents for the first time in older patients and is an important diagnosis to make."