Epidemiology of Celiac Disease

Alberto Rubio-Tapia, Jonas F. Ludvigsson, Joseph A. Murray

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Celiac disease (CD) is characterized by changes in duodenal and small bowel mucosa that are caused by gluten intolerance. These changes include an increase in intra-epithelial lymphocytes, partial or complete villous atrophy, and hypoplasia of the small bowel architecture. CD usually responds to a gluten-free diet (GFD). In epidemiologic studies CD is often diagnosed serologically with positive anti-enomysium and/or anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies. CD is found in most populations but is commonest in those of Northern European origin with a prevalence of approximately 1%. There is a strong genetic susceptibility with almost universal association with HLA class II DQ2 or DQ8 haplotypes. Classically CD presents with diarrhea and malabsorption but it is increasingly recognized that the presentation can be atypical with vague abdominal complaints, fatigue, arthralgia, or abnormal laboratory tests such as iron deficiency anemia. Patients with undiagnosed CD have a lower quality of life than the general population and possibly an increased all-cause mortality. It is therefore important for the clinician to have a low threshold for screening for CD with serology. Further studies are needed to better define the risk of undiagnosed CD and whether a GFD ameliorates this risk. Studies evaluating the impact and cost-effectiveness of population screening for CD are also required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGI Epidemiology
Subtitle of host publicationDiseases and Clinical Methodology: Second Edition
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781118727072
ISBN (Print)9780470672570
StatePublished - Jan 13 2014


  • Celiac
  • Coeliac
  • Duodenum
  • Epidemiology
  • Gluten
  • Inflammation
  • Prevalence
  • Prevention
  • Quality of life
  • Small intestine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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