Carlo Catassi, Department of Pediatrics, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy and also Center For Celiac Research, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, United States; Surender Kumar Yachha, Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India
The Science of Gluten-Free Foods and Beverages
Celiac disease (CD) is one of the most common lifelong disorders in countries populated by individuals of European origin, affecting approximately 1% of the general population. CD is also a common disease in North Africa, the Middle East, and India. The huge prevalence of CD in the Saharawi people (5.6%) is probably related to their strong genetic predisposition and abrupt dietary change during the last centuries. In developing countries, CD is sometimes a severe disease, characterized by chronic diarrhea, stunting, anemia, and increased mortality. Further studies are needed to quantify the incidence of CD in apparently “celiac-free” areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and the Far East. In many developing countries, the frequency of CD is likely to increase in the near future, given the diffuse tendency to adopt Western, gluten-rich diets. Because most cases escape diagnosis all over the world, an effort should be made to increase the awareness of CD polymorphism. A cost-effective case-finding policy could significantly reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with untreated disease.