New Study Examines Financial Impact of Celiac Disease in Mediterranean

Celiac on the Mediterranean, still a nice view...
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.” 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 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?

5 thoughts on “New Study Examines Financial Impact of Celiac Disease in Mediterranean”

  1. I thoroughly enjoy the restaurant guide. It is bad enough being GF, but it is frustrating to go to a restaurant and the manager nor the server has a clue what you are saying. My issue is that some restaurants listed in the guide believe that GF is no more than taking away the bum/roll and leaving you with something naked and bland. I live in a small county in southern MD and 95% of the eating establishments have not put forth the effort to accommodate GF diners. Having said all that, I can save time when planning to go out to eat because I have found restaurants in the guide which prevent me from being an odd ball diner. Because of the guide, I can feel ‘normal’. When asked which restaurant I want to go to, I already know because I have read the restaurant guide. Having the availability of the guide is truly a gift from fantastically talented, knowledgeable and caring individuals. Thank You!

  2. I’m glad that Pat is having success with the Dining Guide. As a person with celiac disease I can sympathize with her statement that many restaurants expect that if they don’t serve you bread, everything else is fair game. The issue of cross contamination is not really addressed.

    The problem I have with the Dining Guide is that all but 4 of the restaurants listed for New Jersey are more than 50 miles away from where I live, and 3 of them are chain restaurants. :( It’s sad that more local restaurants aren’t making the effort to accommodate gluten free diners in Southern New Jersey!

  3. I was informed to check many products over again about every 3 months, because ingredients change frequently. I have found a few that have indeed changed.

  4. A lot of European countries have government coverage for health. I think it’s a whole different deal in the US, where there’s no socialized medicine. If the doctors diagnose you as a celiac, then the medical industry gets less money. If they misdiagnose you with something else, then the medical industry gets more money, as long as they keep you “sick”. I don’t like the motivation there.

    In Europe (and I’d guess the countries around the Mediterranean apply to this for the most part), where taxes fund the medical “industry”, it benefits every taxpayer to see people get well. Correct diagnosis of celiac disease benefits everybody–doctors and other medical personnel included–because fewer sick people means fewer taxes to support medical needs. In the US, the very person diagnosing you–namely your doctor–is going to LOSE money by diagnosing you with celiac disease. Because that means you won’t be visiting his/her doctor’s office anymore.

    No wonder there are so many cases of misdiagnoses in the US. Why would a doctor diagnose you correctly? What’s in it for him/her, when he/she loses money by telling you that you have celiac disease?

  5. This is really interesting – I am glad that these stats are being gathered in other regions of the world besides the just the usual suspects. I am really curious to find some stats on Southern Africa. I know many people living gluten-free in South Africa and the number is on the up and up just like in other parts of the world.

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