Men with celiac disease -- but not women -- are shorter than average, according to research presented at the recent American College of Gastroenterology meeting.
Even though both boys and girls diagnosed during childhood and adolescence have the chance for "catch-up" growth, men diagnosed as adults miss that opportunity and wind up shorter than their peers, the study found.
It didn't seem to matter if the men had typical or atypical celiac disease symptoms, or whether they also suffered from additional autoimmune conditions -- they were still shorter than average.
The study looked at 585 adults at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, and compared their heights to averages in the overall population.
It found that men diagnosed with celiac during adulthood were an average of about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, compared to about 5 feet, 10 inches tall for men without celiac disease.
Women didn't seem to be affected, according to the study. Women with celiac reached an average of about 5 feet, 5 inches tall, while women without the condition were close to the same height -- 5 feet, 4 inches tall.
Other studies have shown that children with short stature -- defined as those in the bottom 3% to 5% of the growth charts -- frequently have undiagnosed celiac disease ... even if they don't have gastrointestinal symptoms.
Catch-up growth spurts in newly diagnosed children really do occur, but the child may not gain back all the height missed before diagnosis. Read more on this in Catch-Up Growth Spurts in Children with Celiac Disease.
Also, men tend to have more severe symptoms upon diagnosis; for more information on what they experience, check out Celiac Disease Symptoms in Men.
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