This study was carried out to see the effect of age, duration of symptoms before diagnosis and length of Gluten free diet (GFD) on serum hemoglobin, calcium and bone mineral density (BMD) in children with Coeliac Disease (CD).
A cohort of 34 children with CD diagnosed on standard criteria and GFD along with calcium and iron supplementation for one year presenting to Children’s Hospital, Islamabad, Pakistan underwent serum hemoglobin and calcium levels and BMD examination using OsteoSyst Sonost 3000. The hemoglobin and serum levels were compared from baseline with the follow up.
Out of 34 children, 24 (71%) were boys. The mean (SD) age at the time of diagnosis, and duration of GI symptoms before diagnosis was 5.4 (±2.9) years and 16.2 (±14.7) months respectively. The mean (SD) duration of gluten free diet was 12.9 (±6.9) months and out of 34, 24 (71%) were symptoms free at the time of follow up. Mean serum hemoglobin was 8.8 g/dL at the time of diagnosis compared to 10.9 g/dL at follow up (p<0.05). Mean serum calcium was 1.0 at diagnosis compared to 1.9 at follow up (p<0.05). BMD was low in 10 (29%) of patients and 22 (65%) were stunted.
Pakistani Children with CD has low hemoglobin and calcium levels, which significantly improved with GFD along with iron and calcium supplementation. One third of children with CD has low BMD, which can affect their long term growth if not treated in time.