They say that 43% of all statistics are made up (ha). Still, I love me some good data, so I was excited to see the preliminary draft of, “The Burden of Celiac Disease in the Mediterranean Area.”
Celiac.com has a partial overview of the report, and points out that (surprise!) there are more celiacs in the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East. At this point, that can’t be terribly shocking to anyone who follows celiac news: we’re really everywhere, we celiacs are. But the report went deeper.
There are two gems that I just want to quote directly (there is a link to the PDF of the report at the bottom of the celiac.com writeup, linked above):
1. “The diagnosis of CD brought a 30% reduction in direct medical expenditure.”
Once again, this can’t be terribly surprising to anyone – at least on an anecdotal level it’s old news. Diagnosing celiac disease and treating it with a GF diet leads to fewer medical expenses? Of course.
The savings come from fewer/less: In-patient admissions, Out-patient cost, Lab test, Radiology and Office visits. In other words: from everything. Similar results were found in a 2008 study in the US, and it’s great to see multinational data proving the anecdotes true.
2. “We assume that the cohort of CD with no symptoms does not increase the average medical cost, compared to non CD individuals (but this should also be revised, since a significant number of patients identified by screening report a posteriori significant clinical symptoms).”
It’s certainly notable that patients identified by screening only reported their symptoms after diagnosis. I’m one of those ‘didn’t know she was sick until she started feeling better’ celiacs, and so I’m shocked that this study didn’t consider the additional medical costs associated with celiacs who don’t have typical symptoms. I had no idea that my annual trip-to-the-doctor-for-meds sinus infection was related to my small intestine – but I sure don’t miss it.
In sum: I’m looking forward to seeing the final report, and thoroughly convinced that more data (especially more financial data) is the key to upping awareness/help for celiac disease. What are your thoughts?