How Common Is Celiac Disease?

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Collection of numbers, suggestive of the theme of this page: how common is celiac disease?

So how common is celiac disease in the Unites States and around the world? This page provides statistics about the prevalence of this disease.

For information about other statistics relevant to celiac disease, see Current Celiac Disease Statistics.

How Common Is Celiac Disease in the United States?

  • An estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease. This statistic covers average healthy people.

    The prevalence is higher in at-risk groups. In symptomatic patients, the prevalence of celiac disease is 1 in 56. In first-degree relatives (parents, children, siblings) of people diagnosed with celiac disease, the prevalence is 1 in 22. In second-degree relatives (aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents, grandchildren), the prevalence is 1 in 39.

    Source: Fasano A, Berti I, Gerarduzzi T, et al. Prevalence of celiac disease in at-risk and not-at-risk groups in the United States. Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(3):268-292.

  • According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, if you have celiac disease, there is a 1 in 10 chance that your first-degree relatives (parents, children, siblings) do as well.

    Source: Celiac Disease Foundation. Diagnosing Celiac Disease. [Article]

  • According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, the prevalence of celiac disease in first-degree relatives of those diagnosed with celiac disease varies from 4–16%. According to the center's own experience, when testing for celiac disease in 1st-degree relatives, the prevalence is 5%, or 1:20. In 2nd-degree relatives (aunts, grandparents, uncles), the prevalence is 2.6%, or 1:39.

    Source: What is the prevalence for others in my family to have celiac disease since I’ve been diagnosed with it? University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. FAQs. [Article]

  • According to one study, the prevalence of celiac disease in the United States is 0.71% (1 in 141).

    Source: Rubio-Tapia A, Ludvigsson JF, Brantner TL, Murray JA, Everhart JE. The prevalence of celiac disease in the United States. Am J Gastroenterol. 2012 Oct;107(10):1538-1544.

How Common Is Celiac Disease Worldwide?

  • Globally, the prevalence of celiac disease is 1%. However, large variations exist among countries. For example, the prevalence in Finland is 2%, and the prevalence in Germany is .3%.

    Source: World Gastroenterology Organisation's Global guidelines: celiac disease. April 2012. [Guidelines]

  • According to Dr. Sheila Crowe, a professor in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology in the department of medicine at the University of Virginia, “celiac disease occurs in [as] many as 1 in 100 people in nearly every country in Europe, including the Mediterranean region, as well as in North Africa and Asia from the Middle East to as far east as India and in countries settled by migrants from countries where celiac disease occurs.”

    Source: Genetic testing for celiac disease. New York Times blog. January 13, 2010. [Blog Post]

How Common Is Celiac Disease in the United States Today Compared to the 1970s?

  • According to a study that focused on 3,511 subjects in the Unites States from 1974 to 1989, celiac disease increased two-fold during that 15-year period. However, since 1974 until more recently, the overall incidence of celiac disease has increased five-fold. The study demonstrated that this change was due to an increasing number of subjects who lost their immunological tolerance to gluten as adults. 

  • Source: Catassi C, Kryszak D, Bhatti B, et al. Natural history of celiac disease autoimmunity in a U.S.A. cohort followed since 1974. Ann Med 2010;42:530-538.

  • One of this study's researchers, Alessio Fasano, MD, stated the following in a 2013 interview:

    “We were shocked to learn that in the specific cohorts of adults, celiac disease doubled every fifteen years. It was 1 in 500 in the seventies, 1 in the 250 in the eighties, and roughly one percent in the 2000s. There were people [who] were able to eat gluten for many years—two ladies for seven decades—and stay absolutely healthy. And, then, after 70 years, they lost this luxury. And, they switched from tolerance and a state of health to disease.”

    Source: Fasano A. Why Creating the Healthiest Intestinal Environment Possible Can Arrest Your Vulnerability to the #3 Cause of Getting Sick and Dying. The Gluten Summit: A Grain of Truth. An online summit hosted by Dr. Tom O'Bryan. 2013.

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