Nowadays, most patients with celiac disease are diagnosed in adulthood. However, undetected disease may already have been present in childhood and may have subsequently affected growth. Earlier data on the eventual adult height of patients with celiac disease have been scant and inconsistent. We aimed to assess the final height in a large cohort of symptom-detected and screen-detected patients with celiac disease diagnosed in adulthood.
Patients and methods
The height of 1084 patients with celiac disease diagnosed in adulthood was determined in five separate birth cohorts between the years 1920 and 1989. Further, the patients were evaluated in three different subgroups depending on whether they were diagnosed on the basis of gastrointestinal or extraintestinal symptoms or by serological screening. The population-based control group included 112 340 patients in equal birth cohorts.
In general, the mean adult height of patients with celiac disease was at the same level as in the population at large. In subgroup analysis, men with intestinal symptoms were shorter than the population controls in the birth cohort 1948–1961, and a similar trend was observed in the older cohorts. In women, the mean height was also reduced in the older birth cohorts, but predominantly among screen-detected patients. In the younger birth cohorts, height was reduced in neither sex compared with the population.
In general, the mean adult height of patients with celiac disease is at the same level as that of the general population. In a subgroup analysis, reduced height was observed in some of the older, but not younger, birth cohorts.