Rising celiac disease prompts new GF products
Since 1974, in the U.S., the incidence of the disorder has doubled every 15 years. Researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research recently found that the number of people carrying markers for celiac disease increased steadily, going from 1 in 501 people in 1974, to 1 in 219 in 1989. In 2003, the Celiac Research Center placed the number of people with the disease at 1 in 133.
Celiac disease is triggered by consuming gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Classic symptoms include diarrhea, intestinal bloating and stomach cramps. Left untreated, it can lead to the malabsorption of nutrients, damage to the small intestine and other medical complications.
Australian manufacturers are rising to the challenge of increasing celiac diagnoses by tapping new markets for the restricted diets of sufferers.
“We are passionate about delivering great taste and high quality products to coeliacs and their families, and have recently started exporting to Dubai and Malaysia, where the incidence of these food intolerances is also growing,” Manglaviti said.
Research suggests that not only is celiac disease on the rise, but that new diagnoses are on the rise among the elderly, suggesting that the disease can begin later in life, contradicting the previous view that celiac disease develops in childhood.
“You’re not necessarily born with celiac disease,” says Carlo Catassi, MD, of the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Italy, lead author on a study into celiac disease in the elderly and co-director of the Center for Celiac Research. “Our findings show that some people develop celiac disease quite late in life.”
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