Characteristics of Adult Celiac Disease in The Usa: Results of A National Survey


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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:The clinical spectrum of adults with celiac disease in the United States, where the disease is considered rare, is not known. We sought this information by distributing a survey.METHODS:A questionnaire was distributed by way of a celiac newsletter, directly to celiac support groups, and through the Internet.RESULTS:Respondents (1612) were from all United States except one. Seventy-five percent (1138) were biopsy proven. Women predominated (2.9:1). The majority of respondents were diagnosed in their fourth to sixth decades. Symptoms were present a mean of 11 yr before diagnosis. Diarrhea was present in 85%. Diagnosis was considered prompt by only 52% and 31% had consulted two or more gastroenterologists. Improved quality of life after diagnosis was reported by 77%. Those diagnosed at age ≥60 yr also reported improved quality of life. Five respondents had small intestinal malignancies (carcinoma 2, lymphoma 3) accounting for a relative risk of 300 (60–876) for the development of lymphoma and 67 (7–240) for adenocarcinoma.CONCLUSIONS:Patients with celiac disease in the United States have a long duration of symptoms and consider their diagnosis delayed. Improved quality of life after diagnosis is common. An increased risk of developing small intestine malignancies is present.

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