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Celiac disease is on the rise

In this analysis of blood tests on a randomized sample of Italian kids (which was presented at the 6th World Congress of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition), the researchers concluded that celiac disease (CD) has nearly doubled over the last quarter century.

So whereas the rate of CD has commonly been said to be about 1 % in Europeans, this study found a rate of 1.6% blood tests positive for CD in today’s Italian kids.

And of course, now one really knows why this big increase, although at least part of the reason is that screening blood tests are very likely be picking up way more cases than is true when the only way to diagnose CD is to do testing in kids who present with symptoms since the symptoms of CD in many people are vague and minimal so that many people with CD go undiagnosed for many years, even lifetimes.

Bottom line from this study is that it may be a spur to doing much more aggressive testing for CD since CD can lead to a host of long-term problems if left untreated, which is very common given that the only effective treatment for CD is to avoid all gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley) which, as a person with CD myself I can tell you is not easy to do.