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Sep 27, 2015

Trends and Racial Differences in Celiac Disease

By Kanaaz Pereira, Connect Moderator, @kanaazpereira

A recently published article in The American Journal of Gastroenterology explores the racial disparities in the prevalence of celiac disease, and a growing trend among people without celiac disease who avoid gluten.

Dr. Joseph Murray, M.D., explains the main take-aways of the article:

  • The prevalence of celiac disease in the general US population of adults aged 50 years and older has increased significantly over the last 20 years.
  • The increase of celiac disease prevalence mostly occurred in non-Hispanic whites, with the remaining low prevalence in non-Hispanic blacks or Hispanics over two decades
  • Recently, there has been a lot of attention on gluten free diet (GFD) as being a healthy diet for relieving gastrointestinal symptoms in the absence of celiac disease. The prevalence of GFD without a diagnosis of celiac disease in non-Hispanic blacks is highest compared with other racial groups, although non-Hispanic blacks have the lowest prevalence of celiac disease. The reason for this is unclear, but may possibly be related to misinterpretations among racial groups about the definition of GFD. 

Read the full study online here.

For more information about celiac disease, visit disease.

Dr. Murray is a gastroenterologist and celiac disease expert at Mayo Clinic.

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