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 25 May 2018

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News

Patient perceptions of the burden of celiac disease and its treatment

The latest issue of the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics  evaluates patient perceptions of the burden of celiac disease and its treatment in the United Kingdom. 

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Celiac disease affects about 1% of the population, with the majority being undetected.

As a consequence, there have been calls for the introduction of screening.

Before screening is given serious consideration, it is important to assess how acceptable early diagnoses and treatment would be.

Dr Whitaker and colleagues from the United Kingdom assessed patients' views as to the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

The team mailed celiac disease patients who had taken a gluten-free diet for at least 12 months, a questionnaire.

46% estimated that their food cost them an extra £10 more per week
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Celiac patients presenting with typical classical symptoms were compared with those diagnosed without such symptoms.

The researchers reported that overall, 83% of celiac patients returned the questionnaires.

Out of these patients, 2-thirds reported that their dietary restrictions reduced their enjoyment of food.

Further more, 46% believed their food cost them more and estimated this to be an extra £10 per week.

The team found of those reporting greater cost, 31 said this was a problem for them.

Half of the patients reported doing things they enjoyed less often because of their diet, with the most common activity sacrificed being dining out.

In spite of these findings, 81% reported being pleased that they were diagnosed.

The research team found that 66% of cases with classical symptoms wishing they had been diagnosed earlier compared with 45% of those without such symptoms.

In contrast, 27% of celiacs diagnosed without classical symptoms regretted being diagnosed with their condition compared with 10% of those with classical symptoms.

Dr Whitaker's team concluded, “Even after several years of a gluten-free diet, many patients with coeliac disease regard it as a substantial burden, with a quarter of screen detected patients reporting regret at being diagnosed.”

“Our findings question how acceptable screening for coeliac disease would be in people with minimal or no symptoms.”

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2009: 29(10): 1131-6
06 May 2009

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