I’m always stunned when I read current statistics on celiac disease. It’s not only incredibly underdiagnosed, but it also has one of the lengthiest diagnostic periods of many diseases. As difficult as it seems to identify celiac disease, the curtain appears to be lifting somewhat with the increased mainstream exposure its receiving.
Celiac disease hides behind many other names, symptomatologies and disease processes. It’s easy to see how celiac disease can be glossed over when a trained eye catches on another disease. It takes a special practitioner- one that can think outside the box and paint a holistic picture of their patients health. Diagnosing celiac disease requires a a good story teller (patient), a good listener (practitioner), and an improved health record. With this disease, it is so important to recollect on happenings over the past few months, years and even decades in order to ding the bell- could this patient have celiac disease?
With that in mind, lets look at some current statistics from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center
- Prevalence of celiac disease is estimated to be as high as 1:133 people in the United States.
- Currently only 1:4,700 people are diagnosed with celiac disease.
- The average delay in diagnosis for a person with symptoms is 11 years.
- On average a child will visit 8 pediatricians before being diagnosed.
- Once diagnosed many report not receiving information about a gluten free diet which serves as “medicine” for this disease. Without an understanding of diet and products to avoid the patient doesn’t get better.
According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA)
- 5-22% of celiac patients have a first degree relative who also has this disease.
- Celiac disease diagnosis rate may reach 50-60% by 2019 due to increases in public awareness.
- Gluten free sales are expected to exceed $5 billion by 2015.