Celiac disease may appear both in early childhood and in elderly subjects. Current knowledge of the disease has revealed some differences associated to the age of presentation. Furthermore, monitoring and prognosis of celiac subjects can vary depending on the pediatric or adult stage. The main objective of this review is to provide guidance for the adult diagnostic and follow-up processes, which must be tailored specifically for adults and be different from pediatric patients. Core tip: Current knowledge of celiac disease CD has revealed differences linked to the age of onset. These differences are related to the epidemiology, pathogenicity, clinical signs and prognosis of the disease.
Celiac disease is a disorder in which eating gluten triggers an immune response in the body, causing inflammation and damage to the small intestine. Celiac disease is a serious condition that can cause a host of negative symptoms, including digestive issues and nutritional deficiencies. Loose, watery stool is one of the first symptoms that many people experience before being diagnosed with celiac disease. Another study of people noted that diarrhea was the most frequent symptom of untreated celiac disease. For many patients, diarrhea was reduced within a few days of treatment, but the average time to fully resolve symptoms was four weeks 3. However, keep in mind that there are many other possible causes of diarrhea, such as infection, other food intolerances or other intestinal issues. Bloating is another common symptom that people with celiac disease experience.
Elderly Onset Celiac Disease
Celiac sprue is a chronic disease, which usually occurs in children and young adults. However, it can develop in any age group, and the prevalence is increasing even in the elderly population. The atypical patterns of clinical presentation in this age group sometimes can cause a delay in diagnosis. Given the lower sensitivity and specificity of serological tests in the aged population, clinical suspect often arises in the presence of complications autoimmune disorders, fractures, and finally, malignancy and must be supported by endoscopic and imaging tools. In this review, we highlight the incidence and prevalence of celiac disease in the elderly, the patterns of clinical presentation, diagnosis, and the most frequent complications, with the aim of increasing awareness and reducing the diagnostic delay of celiac disease even in the elderly population. Celiac disease CD is an immune-mediated enteropathy caused by a reaction to gliadin, a protein fraction contained in wheat and other common grains such as barley and rye. It has been traditionally recognized in children and young adults, although, recently, detection in the elderly population has increased. Usually, when onset of CD occurs in adulthood or in elderly, patients can present either with gastrointestinal GI symptoms, such as diarrhea, bloating and steatorrhea, or more frequently with weight loss and selective malabsorption of nutrients, such as iron, calcium, and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Celiac disease can be difficult to diagnose because it affects people differently. There are more than known celiac disease symptoms which may occur in the digestive system or other parts of the body. Some people develop celiac disease as a child, others as an adult. The reason for this is still unknown. Some people with celiac disease have no symptoms at all, but still test positive on the celiac disease blood test. A few others may have a negative blood test, but have a positive intestinal biopsy. However, all people with celiac disease are at risk for long-term complications, whether or not they display any symptoms. Digestive symptoms are more common in infants and children.