16 Common (and Uncommon) Risk Factors for Celiac Disease

Source: sefa ozel / Getty Images

Gut health

Celiac disease develops when the gluten protein is not well digested by enzymes living in the gut. Certain bacteria in the gut — in this case, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Psa) — may contribute to the development of the autoimmune disease, according to a 2016 study on mice conducted in McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. Bacteria in the gut may tip the balance in some people between developing celiac disease and staying healthy, according to the study’s authors.

Source: Dr_Microbe / Getty Images

Thyroid disease

The thyroid gland produces hormones that play an important role in regulating metabolism — how the body uses energy. It is higher risk for people with any type of thyroid dysfunction, which is also an autoimmune condition, to also have celiac disease. While there is no evidence that going gluten-free will cure a thyroid disease, it is recommended that thyroid function is examined in all patients with celiac disease.

Source: Tatiana Dyuvbanova / Getty Images

Down syndrome

People with Down syndrome are more susceptible to developing celiac disease, according to the U.K. Down’s Syndrome Association. Due to the fact that late diagnosis of celiac disease may lead to complications, some of which can be severe, regular screening for the condition is recommended for children with Down syndrome.

Source: Usis / Getty Images

Turner syndrome

Like Down syndrome, Turner syndrome is a chromosomal condition where the second X chromosome is missing or partially missing. It affects development in girls. Girls with Turner syndrome are often short, and that becomes evident around age 5. It is estimated that about 4% to 6% of Turner syndrome patients, who are generally more susceptible to autoimmune diseases, also have celiac disease.

Source: Mohammed Haneefa Nizamudeen / Getty Images

Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease is a rare, chronic, and potentially life-threatening disorder in which the adrenal glands — glands above the kidneys that produce sex hormones and cortisol — don’t produce enough hormones. People with Addison’s disease have a 6% increased risk of developing celiac disease as well. People with celiac disease are also a lot more likely to develop Addison’s disease, according to a study that examined more than 14,000 celiac disease patients.