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Celiac Disease: Fast Facts

Celiac Disease: Fast Facts

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Here are some of the most staggering facts about celiac disease and the gluten-free marketplace. Each statement highlights the need for education and awareness among the medical, science and culinary communities as well as the general public.

Graphic comparing normal small intestine to one in a patient with celiac disease
  • Celiac disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food.
  • An estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease. However, recent screening studies point to a potentially higher prevalence than 1% in the United States. 
  • A mass screening program of children in Italy found the prevalence of celiac disease to be 1.6%.
  • In Finland, the prevalence of celiac disease has been estimated at 1.99% of the population.
  • A meta-analysis found the global incidence of celiac disease “significantly” increasing. It noted that a “genuine increase in CD incidence is occurring beyond diagnostic improvements, most likely due to environmental factors.” It also found the “pooled global prevalence of celiac disease was 1.4%”
  • Celiac disease can affect men and women of all ages and races.
Chart showing 83% of celiac sufferers are misdiagnosed with other conditions
  • It is estimated that up to 83% of Americans who have celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.
  • 6-10 years is the average time a person waits to be correctly diagnosed. (Source: Daniel Leffler, MD, MS, The Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center)
  • Celiac disease can lead to a number of other disorders including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and other autoimmune diseases.
    Learn more about Related Conditions »
Chart showing average time a person waits to be accurately diagnosed with celiac disease
  • Over a four-year period, people with undiagnosed celiac disease cost an average of $3,964 more than healthy individuals. (Source: Long et al, 2010)
  • The University of Chicago Celiac Center states that of women struggling with fertility, 6% may be due to celiac disease.
Graphic showing people with celiac disease have immediate family member who also has celiac disease
Graphic showing no pharmaceutical treatments for celiac disease
  • There are no pharmaceutical treatments or cures for celiac disease.
  • A 100% gluten-free diet is the only existing treatment for celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity today.

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