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Article 5, 4/2016


Celiac Disease in The Netherlands: Demographic Data of Members of the Dutch Celiac Society

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Tom van Gils1, Bianca Rootsaert2, Gerd Bouma1, Chris J.J. Mulder1
1) Dept. Gastroenterology and Hepatology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam;
2) Dutch Celiac Society, P.O. 5135, 1410 AC, Naarden, The Netherlands

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15403/jgld.2014.1121.254.gil

Background & Aims: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease induced by the intake of gluten with a female to male ratio of 2-4:1. Female predominance has not been recognized in serological mass screening studies. Limited data are available on gender and age distribution in the daily clinical practice of celiac disease. The aim of this study is to describe differences in gender and age at the time of celiac disease diagnosis in the Netherlands.

Methods: Data was obtained from a prospectively maintained database of members of the Dutch Celiac Society in whom celiac disease was diagnosed between 1980 and August 2015. Design: retrospective database study; Setting: database of members of the Dutch Celiac Society; Participants: out of the total number of 26,986 current and ex-members, the data of 7,886 members could be used for analysis.

Results: Age at celiac disease diagnosis ranged between 0 and 88 years; the minority (36%) were diagnosed in childhood. In children, the majority (52%) were diagnosed before the age of 4 years. Median age did not differ in children when compared for gender (3 years). In adults, median age differed between males (52 years, IQR 41-61) and females (44 years, IQR 32-56), p<0.001. Female to male ratio was 2.4:1.

Conclusion. The majority of celiac disease patients are diagnosed during adulthood, with males diagnosed at an older age. Only one-third of the patients were diagnosed at childhood. Celiac disease is less frequently diagnosed in young adult males.

Key words: Celiac disease – epidemiology – gender – age distribution – adult – child.

Abbreviations: CBS: Statistics Netherlands; CD: celiac disease; GFD: gluten-free diet; HLA: human leukocyte antigen; IQR: interquartile range.