Coeliac disease is a condition that requires a gluten-free diet to manage. If intestinal damage is allowed to become chronic, patients are at greater risk of hip fractures. A gluten-free diet helps reduce inflammation and could prevent various complications associated with broken bones.
This is the conclusion reached after a Swedish study involving 7,146 participants. It was already known that coeliac disease heightens the risk of bone fractures but previous studies had produced contradictory results when it comes to the odds after patients are diagnosed and start managing their condition through a gluten-free diet.
Jonas F. Ludvigsson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm said the research results showed reduced risk of bone fractures and complications when the mucous membrane of the small intestine was given a chance to heal. The findings also confirmed that chronic tissue damage made patients more likely to suffer hip fractures. Ludvigsson and his colleagues concluded that a gluten-free diet was vital for minimising intestinal damage and lowering the risk of serious fractures.
The study subjects were diagnosed between 1969 and 2008 and provided intestinal tissue specimens within five years of diagnosis through a biopsy. When the researchers examined the samples, they found that 43% of the patients suffered from persistent villous atrophy. The subjects were monitored for about ten years on average after being diagnosed and the analysis of their records showed a higher long-term risk of hip fracture for those with chronic tissue damage.