Celiac.com 04/29/2013 - In an effort to determine the accuracy of claims that rates of celiac disease are on the rise, a team of researchers recently examined rates of celiac disease in a well-defined US county.

Photo: CC--Spatial MongrelThe research team included Jonas F. Ludvigsson, Alberto Rubio-Tapia, Carol T. van Dyke, L. Joseph Melton, Alan R. Zinsmeister, Brian D. Lahr and Joseph A. Murray. They are variously affiliated with the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Departments of Medicine and Immunology at the College of Medicine of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA, and the Department of Pediatrics of Örebro University Hospital in Örebro, Sweden.

For their population-based study, the team used medical, histopathology, and celiac disease serology records from the Rochester Epidemiology Project to identify all new cases of celiac disease in Olmsted County, Minnesota, USA since 2000.

They then calculated age- and sex-specific incidence rates for celiac disease and adjusted those rates to the US white 2000 population. The team also assessed clinical presentation of celiac disease upon diagnosis.

Overall, they found 249 cases of celiac disease, 92 cases in men and 157 cases in women, in Olmsted County, between 2000 and 2010. Average patient age was 37.9 years. Once adjusted for age and sex, the overall rate of celiac disease within the time studied was 17.4 (95% confidence interval (CI)=15.2–19.6) per 100,000 person-years. That means an increase of over six percent; from 11.1 per 100,000 person-years (95% CI=6.8–15.5) in 2000–2001. The data show the increase leveling off after 2004.

The data also show that cases of celiac disease with classical symptoms of diarrhea and weight loss decreased over time between 2000 and 2010 (P=0.044).

Overall, rates of celiac disease have continued to rise over the last decade in this North-American population. This study supports the observation that celiac disease rates in America are, in fact, going up.

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