The Cost of Undiagnosed Celiac Disease

March 31, 2009

The Cost of Undiagnosed Celiac Disease

Study addresses the economic impact of undiagnosed celiac disease.

A study published by members of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University in the Journal of Insurance Medicine Medical Center (2008;40:218-228) has demonstrated a substantial economic benefit to the diagnosis of celiac disease.

Analysis of a large managed care database revealed reduced health care costs after the diagnosis of celiac disease. Decreased office visits, laboratory tests, diagnostic imaging, and endoscopy procedures were identified areas of cost reduction in patients with diagnosed celiac disease.

“We now have evidence that the increased awareness and diagnosis of celiac disease would benefit not only the patients but would result in health care costs savings, ” says Peter H. R. Green, Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director, Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center.

As a result of the study, “there needs to be greater physician education in the various modes of presentation and manifestations of celiac disease and more use of the widely available screening blood tests that detect the disease,” Dr. Green said.

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Congratulates Dr. Green for this landmark study and for moving the knowledge of celiacs’ impact to the fore. There is no question that knowledge of the economic consequences of the failure to diagnose celiac patients will help to bring about the change we seek.

NFCA strongly believes in the efficacy of raising awareness of celiac disease and, like Dr. Green, know that there is a direct path from raising awareness to diagnosis and, subsequently, effective treatment in the form of a gluten-free diet. NFCA is continuing our National Celiac Awareness

Campaign knowing that we are making progress in this arena but that we have a long way to go before we can come close to claiming success in gaining a diagnosis for the three million Americans with celiac disease.

NFCA’s online symptom checklist and the Do I Have Celiac brochure can help you review the signs of celiac disease and offers you an effective tool in discussing celiac testing with your health care professional. To review the symptom checklist, go to

NFCA’s signature event, the Gluten-Free Cooking Spree, is designed to educate health care professionals about celiac disease in a creative and fun way. Combining the medical and food aspects of celiac disease, doctors partner with chefs to cook gluten-free dishes in a friendly competition. The end result is that 98% of doctors tell us that this event has taught them about celiac disease and 92% have stated that they have changed their practices as a result of their participation in a Spree.