Mayo Clinic Researcher: “Celiac Disease is a Disease of the Masses”

April 4, 2013

Mayo Clinic Researcher: “Celiac Disease is a Disease of the Masses”

Dr. Joseph Murray of the Mayo Clinic says the problem with diagnosing the autoimmune disease is that it’s “hiding in plain sight.”

An estimated 1% of the American population is living with celiac disease, but 83% of them are either misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. While the recommended blood test for celiac disease, the tissue transglutaminase antibody (tTG-IgA), is fairly accurate because of its high sensitivity and specificity, celiac disease still remains undiagnosed in many people. The problem, says Dr. Joseph Murray, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, is that celiac disease is “hiding in plain sight.”

Dr. Murray believes celiac disease is a “disease of the masses,” but it is not being recognized by clinicians because of the many ways the autoimmune disease can present itself. He recommends testing people for celiac disease if they fail to respond to treatment for conditions like osteoporosis and infertility. Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome and other autoimmune disorders (among other conditions) should alert doctors of the possibility of celiac disease.

Interestingly, Dr. Murray thinks celiac disease testing will become routine in the future. In an article shared on the Mayo Clinic website, Dr. Murray said, “We’re amassing more evidence to suggest that we have to screen people rather than just waiting for the disease to become apparent.”

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) encourages people who think they may have celiac disease to take the Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist and talk to their doctor about testing.

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