Celiac Disease connected to nerve damage risk

Lana Bandoim's picture

A new study examined the connection between celiac disease and nerve damage. Researchers discovered that patients with celiac disease had a higher risk of neuropathy. The Neuropathy Association previously shared that neurological disorders can affect celiac disease patients.


The study from researchers in New York included 28,000 patients who had celiac disease that was diagnosed with a biopsy. The study also included 139,000 patients in a control group. Researchers noted that celiac disease patients had a 2.5 times higher risk of nerve damage compared to the control group. They state the findings are statistically significant, and patients who have neuropathy may need to be tested for celiac disease.

Neuropathy or nerve damage is usually identified by symptoms of burning or numbness. Patients may feel burning, tingling or numbness in their feet, legs or hands. Other areas of the body may also be affected, and patients can develop sensitivity to touch. The Neuropathy Association mentions that neuropathy and ataxia can affect celiac disease patients.

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The Neuropathy Association reveals that a gluten-free diet can help some patients prevent or stop the nerve damage. Unfortunately, there are also cases of patients continuing to suffer from neurological disorders despite switching to a gluten-free diet. In addition, there are cases of patients developing new neurological disorders after being diagnosed with celiac disease. One study has suggested that irreversible damage may be occurring in some cases, and patients who have reported neurological problems for more than 12 months are more likely to continue suffering from them despite starting a gluten-free diet.

This is not the first study to examine the link between nerve damage and celiac disease. A previous study from researchers in the Department of Medicine Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases at Columbia University Medical Center found that patients with celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease had a higher risk of peripheral neuropathy.

Read more about celiac disease:
Doctors ignore proper celiac disease diagnosis and care
Celiac disease tripled in children in last 20 years