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Category: Autoimmune Diseases
Celiac disease is over four times more common today than it was 50 years ago, according to a study by researchers from the Mayo Clinic appearing this month in the journal Gastroenterology.
The study also found that subjects the risk of death for those who were unaware they had the disease was nearly four times as likely as those who were disease free.
Dr Joseph Murray, who led the study, said that the reasons for the rising rates of the disease is not known.
"It now affects about one in a hundred people," he said. "We also have shown that undiagnosed or 'silent' celiac disease may have a significant impact on survival. The increasing prevalence, combined with the mortality impact, suggests celiac disease could be a significant public health issue."
Celiac tests can diagnose the disease fairly easily, and the researchers say some studies have suggested that there are likely 30 undiagnosed people for every known case. Without specific testing, the symptoms can be mistaken for other conditions.
"Given the nearly quadrupled mortality risk for silent celiac disease we have shown in our study," Murray said, "getting more patients and health professionals to consider the possibility of celiac disease is important."
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