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Unexplained Anemia May Be Linked to Celiac Disease

Patients with anemia, a disorder of the red blood cells, may also have celiac disease, according to a recent study done in India.

In fact, researchers found that anemia was often the canary in the mine for celiac sufferers, the one symptom able to alert doctors to their patients’ underlying condition. Still, doctors don’t have solid data on the prevalence of celiac disease in patients with anemia, which can cause weakness, shortness of breath and pallor.

The team of Indian doctors and scientists screened 96 patients with nutritional anemia and diagnosed 10 (or 10%)of them with celiac disease as well. Their research found that the age of the patient, the length of time they had symptoms and whether or not they had diarrhea to be the most reliable indicators for predicting celiac disease.

They treated the symptoms by removing gluten from the patients’ diet and supplementing meals with iron and vitamin B, which improved their concentrations of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment in red blood cells.

The researchers recommend testing all patients suffering from unexplained nutritional anemia for celiac disease.

Source:, PubMed
Pamela Hasterok