Adult Celiac Disease: Patients Are Shorter Compared with Their Peers in the General Population

Abbas Esmaeilzadeh, Azita Ganji, Ladan Goshayeshi, Kamran Ghafarzadegan, Mehdi Afzal Aghayee, Homan Mosanen Mozafari, Hassan Saadatniya, Abdolrasol Hayatbakhsh, Vahid Ghavami Ghanbarabadi



Delay in diagnosis of celiac disease (CD) occurs frequently, although its consequences are mostly not known. One of the presented symptoms in pediatric patients with CD is the short stature. However, far too little attention has been paid to physical features including height of adult patients with CD. This study was undertaken to evaluate whether patients suffering from CD are shorter in comparison with the general population without CD. As well, we evaluated probable correlations between demographic and physical features, main complains, serum anti tTG level, and intestinal pathology damage between short (lower quartile) versus tall stature (upper quartile) patients with CD.



This was a retrospective cross-sectional study on 219 adult patients diagnosed as having CD in the Celiac Disease Center, between June 2008 and June 2014 in Mashhad, Iran. The exclusion criteria were ages less than 18 and more than 60 years. Height was compared with a group of 657 age- and sex-matched control cases from the healthy population. The probable influencing factors on height such as intestinal pathology, serum level of anti-tissue transglutaminase (anti-tTG), serum vitamin D, and hemoglobin level at the time of diagnosis were assessed and were compared in short (lower quartile) versus tall stature (upper quartile) patients with CD.


Both male (n=65) and female (n=154) patients with CD were shorter than their counterpart in the general population (males: 168.5±8.6 to 171.3±7.2 cm, p <0.01 and females: 154.8±10.58 to 157.8±7.2 cm, p <0.01). Spearman linear correlation showed height in patient with CD was correlated with serum hemoglobin (p <0.001, r=0.285) and bone mineral density (p<0.001) and not with serum vitamin D levels (p =0.024, r=0.237), but was not correlated with anti-tTG serum levels (p=0.97).

CD patients with upper and lower quartile of height in men and women had no significant difference in the anti-tTG level and degree of duodenal pathology (Marsh grade). Anemia as main complaint was more prevalent in shorter versus taller men.


Adults with CD are shorter compared with healthy adults. There is a direct correlation between height and anemia and bone mineral density. This finding highlights the importance of early detection and treatment of CD.


Celiac disease, Height, Vit D level, Anemia

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