Coping with celiac disease: How heavy is the burden for caregivers?

Francesca Ferretti, Federica Branchi, Bernardo Dell’Osso, Dario Conte, Luca Elli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Celiac disease (CD) is the most common chronic enteropathy demanding a lifelong gluten-free diet. Objective: The aim of the study was to identify and estimate the subjective burden of caregivers of celiac patients. Methods: A cross-sectional observational study was conducted during the regional meeting of the Italian Society for the Celiac Disease in April 2014. A written self-administered anonymous questionnaire enquired into caregivers’ demographic profile, natural history of patients’ disease and caregivers’ self-reported degree of burden at the onset of symptoms (T), at CD diagnosis (T1) and during follow-up (T2). Fifty-five caregivers0 completed the questionnaire (69% females, 47 ± 13 years old, 73% first-degree relatives). Results: The presence of warning symptoms, such as abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea and weight loss was responsible for higher levels of concern. A statistically significant reduction of concern in the follow-up was demonstrated by the comparison of visual analogue scales (VAS) values from T0 to T2 and from T1 to T2 (6.8 ± 3.1 vs 4.2 ± 2.9 and 7.0 ± 2.5 vs 4.2 ± 2.9, respectively; p < 0.001), mirroring the reduction of distress among newly diagnosed individuals. A global impact of gluten-free diet and CD on quality of life was reported in VASs (6.7 ± 2.4). Family (5.4 ± 3.1), social (5.6 ± 2.9) and economic (4.5 ± 3.4) domains were the most associated. Conclusion: The assessment of caregivers’ subjective burden should be considered as an essential step in the evaluation of celiac patients, needing a specific investigation and support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-255
Number of pages6
JournalRevista Espanola de Enfermedades Digestivas
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Caregiver
  • Celiac disease
  • Chronic disease
  • Gluten-free diet
  • Quality of life
  • Subjective burden

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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