The frequency of celiac disease has been on the rise over the past decades, especially in Western Europe, but current trends are unclear.
Dr Kolho and colleagues from Finland researched the recent temporal changes in the incidence of adult, biopsy-verified celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis in Finland, a country with a high frequency of celiac disease.
All celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis cases diagnosed at age 20-79 years during 2005-2014 were retrieved from a nationwide database documenting all applicants for monthly compensation to cover the extra cost of maintaining a gluten-free diet.
This benefit is granted on the basis of histology, not socioeconomic status.
Temporal trends in the annual incidences were estimated using Poisson regression analyses.
|The average rate of decrease in incidence was 3% per year for men|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
The total incidence of celiac disease decreased from 33 per 100,000 during the years 2005-2006 to 29 per 100,000 during 2013-2014.
The research team found that the mean annual incidence of celiac disease was nearly twice as high among women as among men, 42 vs 22 per 100,000, respectively.
The team observed that for middle- and old-aged women, the average rate of decrease in incidence was 5% per year, and for men 3%.
Similarly, the researchers found that the annual incidence of dermatitis herpetiformis declined.
For young adults, the rate of change remained low and nonsignificant throughout the period 2005-2014.
Dr Kolho's team comments, "Although the awareness of celiac disease has increased during the past decades, the incidence of biopsy-verified diagnoses is not increasing, which suggests that exposure to yet unidentified triggering factors for celiac disease has plateaued among the Finnish adult population."