Thank God I dont live in America because all this could have cost me a fortune ! Ha. Mind you, with the price of gluten-free being what it is, it will still cost me a fortune just to stay alive.
I live in the US and in 3 years, we spent over $30,000 out- of- pocket searching for an answer to my devastating health problems.
I tried everything, went everywhere and I even did the "alternative and functional med" route. To no avail. And I have health insurance.
I just did not have a savvy enough doctor --in the dozens of specialists I saw--who could see I was a walking celiac.
You have the wrong idea about a "gluten free diet" if you think it will cost you a fortune.
Veggies, fruits, meats, fish, nuts, eggs, milk...these food prices are the same, whether you are a celiac or not.
Do not overdo the "packaged gluten-free crap" that's out there and your grocery bill will not go up. In fact, it may go down.
In answer to your question---a person can have celiac nearly her entire life and only realize it after DX and see where it all went wrong and caused dozens of symptoms and consequences. But it wasn't until I was slowly dying and unable to walk, sit or stand without agonizing pain, losing 90 lbs., muscle mass and brain function and my hair... that it really got my attention.