75% of coeliac people in Spain is still undiagnosed

Source: www.20minutos.es

This May 27 is National Day of Coeliac. The intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats, affects approximately 1% of the population, according to the Federation of Associations of Coeliac Spain (FACE). So nearly 500,000 Spaniards have intolerance to gluten and of those, at least 75% is still undiagnosed.

The number of people affected by coeliac disease is growing in recent years substantially. It has been and increase in cases diagnosed in adults, such that the average age is now over 40 years. 1% of Spaniards are gluten intolerant (coeliac) while it is estimated that about 10% are sensitive to gluten. The latter one is a newly diagnosed condition in which patients get sick when they consume gluten.

“If we talk about gluten sensitive the figure is closer to 4 million people, since we are talking about 90% of patients without a definitive diagnosis. Although this number could be higher, because the gluten-sensitive could be more than 10% of Spaniards “says Dr. Gonzalo Guerra Flecha, founder and expert in the medical-surgical digestive Digestive Diseases (GRDC) Center.

Dr. Federico Argüelles Arias, a specialist in digestive pathology of the Spanish society of digestive pathology (EDPS),  says that “there are many cases unidentified because patients have no symptoms or have no digestive symptoms that make diagnosis be delayed for years and the affected visit numerous doctors until they arrives at gastrointestinal specialist. ”

That is why experts often described coeliac disease as an iceberg: Outdoor ice would be the diagnosed cases because they have typical symptoms, while hidden underwater remain the most difficult cases to detect. Thanks to a better understanding of the disease and its symptoms, in recent years it is improving the diagnosis.

20% of cases are diagnosed in adults over 60 years, so that coeliac disease is no longer considered a childhood disease. The symptoms of this protein intolerance may vary depending on time of detection. “In the infant gastrointestinal symptoms and lack of growth are those that lead us to suspect that the disease exists. In older children can also find other symptoms such as dermatitis, anemia and even stunting “says Andrés Weddings, child gastroenterologist CMED.

The overpriced shopping coeliac cart

According FACE, 80% of manufactured food products may contain gluten. In its ‘Report on gluten-free prices 2015’ this organization estimates that a family with one coeliac member it has an expenditure of 1,468.72 euros more in the shopping annual purchase than a nuclear family but these patients. To mark the National Day of the celiac, held on Wednesday, they want to capture the attention of the authorities to obtein aids for the coeliac people to have a gluten-free diet, the only treatment for this disease, like in most of the countries of the European Union, including Italy, France and UK.