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Am J Gastroenterol. 2001 Jan;96(1):126-31.

Characteristics of adult celiac disease in the USA: results of a national survey.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.



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.


A questionnaire was distributed by way of a celiac newsletter, directly to celiac support groups, and through the Internet.


Respondents (1,612) were from all United States except one. Seventy-five percent (1,138) 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 > or = 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.


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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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