Introduction. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease resulting from an inadequate immune response to gluten in genetically predisposed individuals as a result of consuming gluten and other related proteins present in wheat, rye, barley and oats. The only cure for this specific disease is a strict, carefully controlled and lifelong gluten-free diet. The aim of the study was to evaluate whether the elapsed time between the onset of the first symptoms and the diagnosis of celiac disease affected the psycho-physical functioning and social life of children and adolescents.
Methods. The study involved 116 respondents (39 of them were males), aged 8-18 years, who were diagnosed with celiac disease. The Documentation Sheet and the Celiac-Specific Pediatric Health-Related Instrument (CDPQOL), measuring the psycho-physical functioning and social life, were used in the study.
Results. 50% of subjects, aged ≤ 2 years, were diagnosed with celiac disease. 48.28% of them were diagnosed with the disease within three months after the symptom onset. In respondents with celiac disease, aged 8-12 years, there was no statistically significant difference between the psycho-physical functioning and social life and the elapsed time between the first symptoms and the established diagnosis. In subjects aged 13-18 years, using CDPQOL, a statistically significant difference was found in the following domains: school functioning, going out and social events, self-confidence. Furthermore, there was a statistically significant difference between total CDPQOL score and the elapsed time between the first symptoms and the established diagnosis.
Conclusion. The elapsed time between the first symptoms and the established diagnosis significantly affects the psycho-physical functioning and social life of subjects aged 13-18 years, but it does not affect the psycho-physical functioning and social life of the younger respondents. This is to confirm the importance of early diagnosis and treatment initiation.
Authors retain copyright. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
The statements, opinions and data contained in the journal are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publisher and the editor(s). We stay neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.