Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Facts and Statistics on Celiac Disease

Here are some Celiac Disease facts and statistics I find most interesting from the UChicago Celiac Disease Center:

  • Undiagnosed and untreated, celiac disease can lead to the development of other autoimmune disorders, as well as osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions and in rare cases, cancer.
  • The average length of time it takes for a symptomatic person to be diagnosed with celiac disease in the US is four years; this type of delay dramatically increases an individual’s risk of developing autoimmune disorders, neurological problems, osteoporosis and even cancer.
Prevalence of Celiac Disease in the United States:
  • In average healthy people: 1 in 133
  • In people with related symptoms: 1 in 56
  • In people with first-degree relatives (parent, child, sibling) who are celiac: 1 in 22
  • In people with second-degree relatives (aunt, uncle, cousin) who are celiac: 1 in 39
  • In the landmark prevalence study on celiac disease, investigators determined that 60% of children and 41% of adults diagnosed during the study were asymptomatic (without any symptoms).
  • Celiac disease affects 1% of healthy, average Americans. That means at least 3 million people in our country are living with celiac disease—97% of them are undiagnosed.
Can you believe that?! Most of the people with CD aren't even diagnosed! It's hard enough to get a diagnosis when you have the symptoms, but according to these statistics 41% of adults with CD didn't even have any symptoms when diagnosed. Crazy! There is definitely a need for more education and research about CD.
I suggest taking a look at the entire factsheet.

Also, keep in mind that these statistics are for people who have actual celiac disease. These numbers don't account for the many people with a gluten intolerance. I believe (my husband hates it when I say this) that the majority of the population would benefit from going on a gluten-free diet.

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