Celiac UK, the national charity for celiac disease announces today, 12th May 2014, new research from the University of Nottingham that has found a fourfold increase in the rate of diagnosed cases of celiac disease in the United Kingdom over the past two decades, but, still three quarters of people with celiac disease may remain undiagnosed.
The National Institute of Health & Care Excellence (NICE) previously estimated that only 10 — 15% of those with celiac disease had been diagnosed, however, this latest research by Dr Joe West from University of Nottingham, funded by Celiac UK and CORE has shown that the level of diagnosis has increased to 24%.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten. Left untreated it may lead to infertility, osteoporosis and small bowel cancer. 1 in 100 people in the UK have celiac disease, with the prevalence rising to 1 in 10 for close family members.
The only treatment for celiac disease is a strict, lifelong gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye and, once diagnosed, people with celiac disease need to eliminate all gluten-containing foods and make sure they only eat gluten-free varieties.
Researchers identified the number of people diagnosed during the study period using the diagnostic codes for celiac disease recorded in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (1990-2011).
This research is published by The American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Sarah Sleet, Chief Executive of Celiac UK said: “This latest research shows that nearly a quarter of people with celiac disease have now been diagnosed and gives an up to date picture of the diagnosis levels across the UK. Of course, increasing numbers with a diagnosis is good news and will inevitably mean that there will be an increased demand for gluten-free products in supermarkets. But the three quarters undiagnosed is around 500,000 people — a shocking statistic that needs urgent action.”
The symptoms of celiac disease range from mild to severe and can vary between individuals. Not everyone with celiac disease experiences gut related symptoms; any area of the body can be affected. Symptoms can include ongoing gut problems such as bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and wind, and other common symptoms include extreme tiredness, anemia, headaches and mouth ulcers, weight loss (but not in all cases), skin problems, depression, and joint or bone pain.
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