Celiac disease—an autoimmune disorder in which the ingestion of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley) leads to damage of the small intestine. Not only must celiac sufferers resist bread and most baked goods, they’re also more likely to develop problems with their thyroid, the gland that pumps out hormones influencing metabolism, growth, development, and body temperature. A 2008 study found that people with celiac had nearly three times the risk of hyperthyroidism and four-and-a-half times the risk of hypothyroidism compared to people without celiac
Heart trouble can weaken your skeletal tissue. A 2012 study linked heart failure to thinning of bones and a 30% increased risk of major fractures. The exact mechanisms are still unclear, but there are several theories. One possible explanation is that common genes impact both conditions. Another theory involves circulation: When clogged arteries hamper blood flow to the lower extremities, the flow of minerals between the blood and bone tissue drops. If you’ve had trouble with your heart, seek out a bone mineral density test. And next time you’re in for a chest X-ray, ask your doctor to look carefully for signs of fractures. If any are found, you’ll want to increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D, boost your exercise, and consider osteoporosis medications. Doctors say treatment can reduce future fractures by as much as 50%.
Psoriasis—an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches usually on the outside of the elbows, knees, or scalp. What you probably don’t know is that one in five sufferers goes on to develop psoriatic arthritis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Psoriatic arthritis causes painful joint inflammation—with sore, stiff, and tender joints—and can lead to irreversible joint damage if left untreated. Experts estimate that some 50% of cases are undiagnosed. If you have psoriasis, ask your doctor to screen you for psoriatic arthritis—as well as rheumatoid arthritis and even increased risk for stroke and heart attack, which have also been linked to the disorder.
Having diabetes doubles your risk of depression, studies show. The tremendous stress of having diabetes—with symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, frequent urination or infections, unusual thirst, blurred vision and slow wound healing—may be enough to trigger the blues, but it’s also possible that depression results from the metabolic effects that diabetes has on the brain. Diabetics may also have symptoms that look like depression. Blood sugar swings can leave them feeling tired and anxious; the swings can also interfere with sleep and encourage overeating.
As if the hassle of hot flashes and night sweats during menopause wasn’t enough: These symptoms may point to another issue—low bone mineral density. A study in the January 2015 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that women who experienced significant menopausal symptoms went on to have double the rate of hip fracture compared to women who weathered menopause without symptoms. The researchers don’t yet know why having hot flashes speeds bone loss, but they’re encouraging women who are at greater risk to take steps to protect their bones—by ramping up the exercise and making sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D.