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The Celiac Disease Diagnosis Rate

How Many People Are Diagnosed with Celiac Disease Every Year?

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Updated April 01, 2009

The number of people diagnosed with celiac disease every year (the rate of new diagnoses) has been climbing. The increase is probably not because celiac disease is developing more often than in the past. Rather, the rising celiac disease diagnosis rate is probably due to the fact that doctors are more likely now to recognize the symptoms of celiac disease and perform the necessary diagnostic tests. Doctors once believed -– incorrectly, it turns out -- that celiac disease only developed in babies and small children, that everyone with celiac disease had diarrhea, and that most people eventually outgrew it. Those myths have been disproved.

Researchers have estimated rates of celiac disease diagnosis in the United States as follows:

0.9 per 100,000 in 1950 to 1989
3.3 per 100,000 in the 1990s
9.1 per 100,000 in 2000 and 2001
20.6 per 100,000 in 2003

There have been increases in the diagnosis rate in all age groups. The increases have been larger, however, in older age groups (probably because in the past older people were never tested for celiac disease) and in females (for reasons that are not understood yet).

Sources:

Murray JA et al. Trends in the identification and clinical features of celiac disease in a North American community, 1950–2001. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2003;1:19–27.

Green PHR et al. Economic benefits of increased diagnosis of celiac disease in a national managed care population in the United States. Journal of Insurance Medicine 2008;40:218–228.

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