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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Israeli Study Shows Celiac Disease Carries Higher Medical Costs

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 01/09/2014 - Not much is known about costs associated with celiac disease. A team of Israeli researchers recently studied the costs in patients diagnosed with celiac disease. The research team included A.D. Heymann, M. Leshno, R. Endevelt, and R. Shamir of the Medical Division at Maccabi Healthcare Services in Tel Aviv, Israel.

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons--Deror aviThey conducted a retrospective case control study covering the period 2003-2006 in a large Israeli Health Maintenance Organization with over two million members. Their study group included 1,754 patients with celiac disease and a control group of 15,040 non-celiac patients. They calculated costs individually for each member, and aggregated costs according to main cost-branches.

    They conducted a linear step wise regression with costs as the dependent variable and age, gender and the presence of celiac disease as the independent variables. They then compared costs for patients with celiac disease with costs for patients suffering from other chronic diseases.

    The team found that the total costs of celiac disease patients were significantly higher than those for the control group for hospital admission, medications, laboratory and imaging. The overall hospital admission rate of celiac patients was 7.98% as opposed to 7.1% for the control group (p = 0.06). However, compared with other chronic illnesses, the costs of patients with celiac disease were similar to those of patients with diabetes and hypertension.

    This study does conclude that celiac disease patients do use more medical services than the general population, at rates likely higher than previously thought.

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    Given the fact that undiagnosed celiac disease/gluten intolerance can lead to development of numerous autoimmune diseases, logic would tell me that if we can begin diagnosing this at a younger age we may be able to prevent these diseases that cost more in health care dollars.

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    I didn't need a study done in Israel to tell me that celiac carries higher medical costs. My pocket book has known it for years. The same goes for food costs for people with celiac.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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