Statistics on Celiac Disease
Below are some statistics on celiac disease:
- Celiac disease is a specific autoimmune digestive disorder of the small intestine. Celiac disease is not a form of food allergy. In celiac disease, the immune system reacts against gluten, a protein found in wheat, causing damage to villi and loss of surface area for absorbing nutrients.
- Celiac disease is one of the most common digestive disorders and its prevalence has been increasing. (Lebwohl et al. 2015; Lerner et al. 2015)
- In Canada, it is estimated that nearly 1.0% of the population (or 1 in 114 Canadians) are affected by celiac disease, although about 90% of celiac disease cases remain undiagnosed. (Health Canada 2018; Jamnik et al. 2017)
- A study showed that Canada is the country with the greatest increase (about 35%) in the incidence and prevalence of celiac disease over the past decades. (Lerner et al. 2015)
- The risk for developing celiac disease is higher for those who have a 1st degree relative with the disease, and the prevalence is about 7.5% in this population. (Singh et al. 2015)
- About 30% of adults with celiac disease have one or more autoimmune disorders, compared to about 3% in the general population. (Reilly et al. 2012)
- The prevalence of celiac disease in type 1 diabetes patients is 5 to 7 times more than in the general population. (Kaur et al. 2018)
- Patients with celiac disease are at increased risk of cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and small intestinal adenocarcinoma. (Lebwohl et al. 2015)
- Lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet is the standard treatment for celiac disease, but this is burdensome, expensive and can be socially restrictive.
- Gluten-free products are 2.5 times more expensive than regular items, making the overall cost of the disease for individuals and their families enormous. (Fedorak et al. 2012)
- According to a Canadian study, total food expenditures in families with a child with celiac disase are higher than the average household. In 2013, the average food expenditure was $1,105/month for Canadian households affected by celiac disease vs. $842/month for the comparable average Canadian household. (Alzaben et al. 2016)
- In 2012, the sale of gluten-free products reached up to $460 million in Canada, representing a 25% increase since 2008. (Alzaben et al. 2016)
- Access to gluten-free foods prevents families with celiac disease from traveling, dining out and taking part in social activities, thereby decreasing their quality of life while increasing the indirect costs associated with the disease.
- Despite the wider availability of serological tests, delays in the diagnosis of celiac disease remain long. The mean age at diagnosis is 45 years, with an average diagnostic delay of 12 years. (Pulido et al. 2013)
- The under-recognition of celiac disease in pediatric patients creates an economic burden on the health care system as families may consult several physicians before receiving a diagnosis for their child.
- Delayed diagnosis of celiac disease increases the individual’s risk for the development of serious chronic medical issues which, in turn, will increase their use of the health care system and reduce their ability to contribute to society.
Alzaben A et al. The cost of the gluten-free diet: Household food expenditures in families with a child or adolescent with celiac disease. Paediatr Child Health. 2016;21(5):125.
Fedorak RN et al. Canadian Digestive Health Foundation Public Impact Series 4: Celiac disease in Canada. Incidence, prevalence, and direct and indirect economic impact. Can J Gastroenterol. 2012 Jun;26(6):350-2.
Health Canada. 2018. Celiac disease – the gluten connection. https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/hc-sc/documents/services/food-nutrition/reports-publications/food-safety/celiac-disease-gluten-connection/26-18-2047-Food%20Allergen-Celiac-EN-FINAL.pdf
Jamnik J et al. Prevalence of positive coeliac disease serology and HLA risk genotypes in a multiethnic population of adults in Canada: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Open. 2017;7(10):e017678.
Kaur N et al. Interplay between type 1 diabetes mellitus and celiac disease: Implications in treatment. Dig Dis. 2018 Jul 25:1-10.