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.
- 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.
- 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.
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- 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.
- It has been estimated that 5-22% of people with celiac disease have an immediate family member (first-degree relative) who also has celiac disease. However, a retrospective study by the Mayo Clinic, found that 44% of screened first-degree relatives had celiac disease.
- Up to 6% of Americans have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
- 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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