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Celiac disease is massively under diagnosed in US, Australia & UK. Do you need gluten free too?

The US has one of the worst diagnosis rates of developed countries. Gluten Free Foods are made for people who are celiac or gluten intolerant. Because symptoms are so diverse this disease often goes undetected and undiagnosed by Doctors. But first you may be interested in what the odds are that you may have the disease and not know it. Or why it took so long for you to be diagnosed. 

Level of undiagnosed "Celiac Disease" people in America

One references estimates that "1 in 133 people in the US have celiac disease" It also cites a study that was conducted to "assess the number of undiagnosed cases of celiac disease due to a lack of awareness and inadequate training among primary care physicians. Researchers found that when doctors tested all of their patients with symptoms associated with celiac disease the diagnostic rate increases 32- to 43-fold" (ref 6).

"The projected number of people in the United States with celiac disease could be as high as three million, yet only a small fraction of these cases has been correctly diagnosed and treated". (ref 6)

Another article written in 2004 suggests that the average time from symptoms to diagnosis in America was ten years. It cites variances in the number of celiacs (diagnosed and undiagnosed) in difference countries - Italy celiac disease is suggested to be as 1 in 250 people, while Ireland only 1 in 300 people. However it is "estimated that only one in 4,700 people in America are actually diagnosed with celiac disease. Yet according to evidence researched by the NIH report, prevalence may be as high as 1 in 105 people!"(ref 7). This would suggest that five years ago that only 2.2% of celiacs were diagnosed in America.

This lower level of diagnosis could be the reason that in a previous articles on the gluten free pages site estimated adjusted celiac searches in America at 2.7 searches per celiac per month - much less than Australia's value of 4.2.

Level of Diagnosis in Australia

In Australia the celiac society states that 1% of the population has celiac disease. Although they suggest that only 20% of these people have been diagnosed. (ref 1). The Australian Gastroenterology institute states that in Australia the diagnosis level is somewhere between one in 500 to one in 2000 people (ref 4). Taking the higher level of 20% diagnosis, this means that in Australia (population 21,550,000, Jan 2009) that 215,000 people are most likely celiac but 170,000 people don't know it. Note that gluten intolerant people may increase the amount of people seeking Gluten Free solutions by a factor of three or four times the Total Celiac values.

In December 2008, the top 200 search terms on Google Australia, related to gluten free products was 470,000 searches. With 79% internet usage and 65% Google share, this converts to an estimated 911,000 searches per month. If there are only 35,000 diagnosed celiacs (20% of total celiacs) in Australia this would mean that they perform 26 searches each per month each!

As the 1 in 100 statistic takes into account celiac babies, the elderly and people who do not use the internet (but have access) the number of celiacs actually searching is less than those diagnosed. So the ones that actually search perform an even higher search than the average estimated. But 26 searches per month (or higher) by celiacs is most likely unrealistically high. It is more likely that this number is reduced by the searches performed by gluten free businesses and gluten intolerant people.

At the Melbourne gluten free shown in October 2008 approximately 10,000 people attended over three days. Yet from the above estimates, only about 8,000 people in Melbourne are diagnosed celiacs. Empirically (from our stand at the show) it is likely that family members without CD and ‘gluten intolerant' people may have made up to 80% of the visitors to the show. If this is the case, then the number of diagnosed celiac people online searches each month should be reduced by about 80% to account for gluten intolerant people and business searches. This reduces diagnosed celiac to 26 x 20% = 5.2 searches per month.

Using Google data estimates the Australian adjusted celiac searches per month at 4.2 searchers per month. When the e-demand of various countries is compared to a country's 'GDP per person' a logarithmic relationship exists between demand and wealth. Higher wealth also most likely being associated with higher diagnosis.

UK level of un-diagnosed Celiac disease

In the GFP Global Matrix article, The UK was estimated to have a celiac search value of 2.2 searches per celiac per month, which while lower than America and Australia is still well ahead of Germany (0.3), France (0.8) and Italy (0.9).

One reference estimates that "at least 1 in 100 people in the UK suffers from celiac disease. However, only 12.5% of people with the disease are actually being correctly diagnosed. Recent research showed that the average length of time taken for someone to be diagnosed with celiac disease from the onset of their symptoms is 13 years. (ref 8)

All of these facts suggest a massive global under-diagnosis of celiac disease. Other original articles on this site suggest that the long term symptoms of this disease greatly distroy the quality of life for those who acquire it. Fast and accurate diagnosis is critical, and if you suspect that you suffer from some of the symptomsFree Web Content, diagnosing or ruling out the disease is vital. Please see our article on Symptoms and our article on Diagnosis options if you believe you may need help. 

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Article by:  Bruce Dwyer - GoLeftfield Marketing

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This article created by Bruce Scott Dwyer for - for the full article and similar articles please visit this site's Original Articles page.

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