Celiac Disease Around The World
About Celiac Disease
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune illness that damages the mucosa in the small intestine. It leads to nutrient malabsorption causing several other health complications in a person.
The most direct and immediate trigger for developing this disease is the intake of gluten-rich foods. It is a protein found in wheat, barley, etc. and a known activator of the disease. Naturally, the best way to tackle the illness is by adhering to a gluten-free diet.
While sticking to such a diet has its challenges, it is the detection of the disease itself that is the biggest hurdle. The symptoms of Celiac can be as common as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, etc. This means that very often, the symptoms get treated for themselves and if at all a connection to Celiac is established, it is usually quite delayed.
The only way to confirm Celiac Disease in the body is by a blood test or a biopsy. If a family member has the disease, there is a high probability that you too are a carrier of the HLA gene or the Celiac gene. But for a doctor to prescribe serological, genetic or endoscopy tests, a correlation must be recognized between the symptoms and the disease along with thorough knowledge of family medical history.
Prevalence Around the WorldWhile most cases of Celiac go undiagnosed, it is interesting to observe the prevalence and distribution of Celiac around the world.
Even though it was considered to be a disease afflicting Caucasians, more and more reports of Celiac Disease among non-European nationalities are being discovered today. Worldwide, North Africa has the highest prevalence of the disease and Latin America, too, has a significant number of persons suffering from the illness.
An analysis of studies around the world showed that the prevalence of Celiac was about 4% in South America, 0.6% in Asia and 0.8 % in Europe and Australia.
It is said that nearly 1% of the population in the U.S. is diagnosed with the disease. However, due to relatively low dependence on wheat among the Chinese and Southeast Asians, the prevalence of Celiac is low there, though not totally absent. Studies showed that as China and other Asian countries adopt a more western lifestyle, the detection of Celiac is also on the rise. Moving away from other indigenous grains could be a reason for this.
People in countries like Turkey, Egypt, Kuwait, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, are more susceptible to the illness as the diet here involves heavy consumption of wheat bread.
Celiac Among Indians
A research conducted in the U.S. showed that among those diagnosed with Celiac Disease in the country, people hailing from North India and more so, Punjab had the highest rate of developing the disease. A predominantly wheat-based diet could be a reason behind this. The prevalence of the disease was less among those with South Indian heredity.