This new study (published in the National Institutes of Health) tested nearly 8,000 persons representing the population of the USA. They determined which had celiac disease using blood testing alone (which is how we do it at the IBS Treatment Center). Their conclusion is that the prevalence of celiac disease in the USA as a whole is about .71% (1 in 141 people), but is 1% among non-hispanic whites.
Perhaps the most important finding was that the vast majority of those with celiachad not been diagnosed (almost 83%)! Celiac disease testing should be more common, and physicians need to understand both the disease and the testing.
The Prevalence of Celiac Disease in the United States
The prevalence of celiac disease (CD) in the United States is unknown. We sought to estimate CD prevalence nationwide by using a nationally representative sample.
This study included 7,798 persons aged 6 years or older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-2010. Serum samples from all participants were tested for immunoglobulin A (IgA) tissue transglutaminase antibodies and, if findings were abnormal, also for IgA endomysial antibodies. Information about prior diagnosis of CD and use of a gluten-free diet (GFD) was obtained by direct interview. CD was defined as having either double-positive serology (serologically diagnosed CD) or a reported diagnosis of CD by a doctor or other health-care professional and being on a GFD (reported clinical diagnosis of CD).
CD was found in 35 participants, 29 of whom were unaware of their diagnosis. Median age was 45 years (interquartile range, 23-66 years); 20 were women and 29 were non-Hispanic white. The prevalence of CD in the United States was 0.71% (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.58-0.86%), with 1.01% (95% CI, 0.78-1.31%) among non-Hispanic whites. In all, 55 participants reported following a GFD, which corresponded to a prevalence of 0.63% (95% CI, 0.36-1.07%).
The prevalence of CD in the United States was 0.71% (1 in 141), similar to that found in several European countries. However, most cases were undiagnosed. CD was rare among minority groups but affected 1% of non-Hispanic whites. Most persons who were following a GFD did not have a diagnosis of CD.
Am J Gastroenterol advance online publication, 31 July 2012; doi:10.1038/ajg.2012.219.
Rubio-Tapia A, Ludvigsson JF, Brantner TL, Murray JA, Everhart JE.
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.
Article Courtesy: Dr. Stephen Wangen