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Majority of Celiac Disease Patients are Asymptomatic and are Older when Diagnosed

Celiac.com 12/30/2004 - A new study on celiac disease was presented at the 69th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology by S. Devi Rampertab, MD, from the North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System in New York. The study looked retroactively at 590 patients with a celiac diagnosis confirmed by biopsy from 1952 to 2004. They found that since 1980 the patient age of diagnosis has increased from 30.5 to 42, and the number of cases diagnosed after significant diarrhea decreased from 91% to 37%—and the time period from the development of the disease to its detection decreased from 11 years (before 1980) to four years now. New blood screening techniques are credited for the earlier detection of the disease, and the resulting decrease in the percentage of patients diagnosed after the development of a malignancy—which decreased from nearly 22% before 1980 to just over 5% now.

The positive trends noted in this study further support the use of widespread serum screening to detect celiac disease, as it can prevent many of the complications caused by the disease. One thing that isnt clear, however, is why the age of diagnosis is getting higher—even though Italian studies have determined through mass-screenings that celiac disease is present in at least 1% of all children. Since that number is consistent with the number of people in the USA with the disease, it stands to reason that celiac disease may in fact be a childhood disease, and if so, the 42 year-old average age of diagnosis in the USA would indicate a massive failure of our health care system to detect the disease. More studies need to be done to determine the number of children in the USA with celiac disease.

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Since most celiacs have little or no symptoms—Celiac.com believes that the only reasonable way to get them properly diagnosed and treated would be to have widespread serological screenings of the general population. The disease affects at least 1% of the population in the USA, and the benefits for such screenings would far outweigh their cost.

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The only symptom I know of that is celiac for certain is dh, which must be diagnosed by a dermatologist.

I have both eoe and celiac and now that I have been gluten free for 18 months, my anemia is gone. It is good to get off the iron supliments because mine may have been the cause of my ulcers. It feels good to recover and heal! I may work my way down to fewer supliments and lots of feel great da...

Your daughter does not have a strong positive. I suspect that the GI might do as RMJ suggested which would be to load her up on gluten for six months and retest. On the other hand, with a diagnosed sibling and a very mild positive, your GI might recommend the endoscopy or run the test again to ...

I was diagnosed with celiac last year on an endoscopy looking for the cause of my anemia. At the time, my GI doc tested m for EoE and it was negative. Fast forward 11 months, I developed sudden heart burn, dysphagia out of the blue. My doc thinks it's EoE. Biopsy was last week and I am still wait...

No, the control test is to verify that she will react to that particular type of test. If she didn't, then certain of the bloods would not be applicable to her. They would be false negatives. As far as tests being weak positives, that's like being a little pregnant. A positive is a positive....