High Prevalence of Celiac Disease in North Indian Population

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

The prevalence of celiac disease is not evenly spread throughout the world. It is more prevalent in some populations than others. We know from previous research that North Indian, Pakistan and Bangladesh populations are some of those with higher numbers of celiac disease than average. This region consumes a lot of wheat (gluten) and much of the population carries the genes necessary for developing celiac disease. But exactly how high are these numbers?

There are many adults from North India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the UK who are affected by celiac disease so an audit was conducted in an area of southern Derbyshire to find out just how common celiac disease is within this population.

All white and Asian patients with celiac disease confirmed by biopsy during the 50- year period between 1958 and 2008 were identified and prevalence of the disease was calculated using population data from the Office of National Statistics. Symptoms, adherence to a strict gluten-free diet and follow-up record were also researched and compared with the white celiac patients.

1305 patients were diagnosed during this period and 82 of these were Asian. Prevalence of celiac disease in Asian groups was much higher than in white groups. In white populations, celiac rates were 1:356 whilst in Asian populations rates were 1:193. No Asian man over the age of 65 was diagnosed. It was also found that Asian celiacs are more likely to suffer from anemia and less likely to suffer from diarrhea. Asian celiacs were also found to be less likely to stick to the gluten free diet than white patients.

Conclusions from the study suggest that increased efforts need to be made to diagnose Asian men over the age of 65. Additional strategies must also be developed to help Asian patients keep strictly to the gluten free diet.



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