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Poorly controlled celiac disease may increase lymphoma risk

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Patients suffering from celiac disease (CD) who do not control their condition with a gluten-free diet may be at a higher risk for developing lymphoma, Medical News Today reported.

In a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers gathered data on 7,625 patients with CD between 2006 and 2008. In follow-up biopsies taken after their initial diagnosis, 43 percent of patients had persistent villous atrophy –a condition in which the villi in the intestines erodes and impairs the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. Persistent villous atrophy is a sign that patients have not successfully followed a gluten-free diet in order to control their CD.

Researchers compared these results with people who had adhered to a gluten-free diet, allowing for healing in the gut. Patients with celiac disease who suffered from persistent villous atrophy had an increased risk for lymphoma compared to both the general population and patients who had successfully controlled their celiac disease. The effect was particularly strong in the first year after CD diagnosis, Medical News Today reported.

"This frequently reported increased risk is most pronounced among patients with persistent villous atrophy and is less pronounced among those with mucosal healing,” the researchers wrote in their study. “These findings should prompt further evaluation of mucosal healing as a goal for patients with CD to reduce their risk for (lymphoma)."

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