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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Jul 1;20(1):73-9.

Risk of vascular disease in adults with diagnosed coeliac disease: a population-based study.

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Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.



It has been suggested that vascular disease mortality may be reduced in coeliac disease because of lower levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass.


To examine whether people with coeliac disease are at reduced risk of various vascular diseases.


We identified 3,790 adults with diagnosed coeliac disease and 17,925 age- and sex-matched controls in the General Practice Research Database. We estimated odds ratios for diagnosed hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia and atrial fibrillation and hazard ratios for myocardial infarction and stroke.


Adults with coeliac disease, compared with controls, were less likely to have had a diagnosis of hypertension [11% vs. 15%, odds ratio 0.68 (95% confidence interval: 0.60-0.76)] or hypercholesterolaemia [3.0% vs. 4.8%, odds ration 0.58 (95% confidence interval: 0.47-0.72)] but slightly more likely to have had atrial fibrillation [2.1% vs. 1.7%, odds ratio 1.26 (95% confidence interval: 0.97-1.64)]. The hazard ratio for myocardial infarction was 0.85 (95% confidence interval: 0.63-1.13), while the hazard ratio for stroke was 1.29 (95% confidence interval: 0.98-1.70).


Although rates of myocardial infarction and stroke were not substantially different, adults with coeliac disease do have a lower prevalence of hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia compared with the general population. The effect of a gluten-free diet on cardiovascular risk factors should be determined before any screening programmes for coeliac disease are instituted.

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