U.S. Lags Behind Europe in Celiac Disease Knowledge

Did you know that 1 in 133 people in the U.S has celiac disease? (Archives of Internal Medicine, published 10 February 2003)

Unfortunately, only about 1 out of every 4,700 Americans has been diagnosed, which means 97% of cases go undetected in our country. Why is this? Dr. Alessio Fassano, the Director of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland, points to lack of research by medical professionals in the United States.

"Equal recognition of celiac disease has been frustratingly slow to reach the U.S," says a colleague of Dr. Fassano, Dr. Guandalini, who trained in Italy. "In Europe, it typically takes a few weeks to go from the first symptoms to a diagnosis. In the U.S., the average lag time between onset and diagnosis is 11 years." If ever.

In the mid-1970s, European scientists spearheaded a task force to determine celiac disease prevalence and presentation. These efforts allowed for both a greater understanding and management of the disease. In the United States, very few medical doctors attempt to understand the disease or its wide-spread implications. Unless your endocrinologist or pathologist knows about celiac disease, the diagnosis could remain a mystery for years.

Dr. Alessio Fassano: A Revolutionary Doctor

The shortcomings of traditional medicine often block a patient’s path to better health. Sometimes even medical professionals cannot uncover the truth because of endless red tape and road blocks. Many patients and doctors become discouraged and give up. Dr. Alessio Fassano, thankfully, is not one of them.

After moving to Baltimore from Naples, Italy in 1993, Dr. Fassano worked tirelessly on issues of digestive health. As the Director of the Center for Celiac Research and Mucosal Biology Research Center at the University of Maryland, Dr. Fassano and his research team proved that gluten contributes to autoimmune disorders such as Type I diabetes, thyroid disease, Sjorgen's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, collagen vascular disease and liver disease.

Despite the fact that Dr. Fassano unequivocally proved the connection between gluten and autoimmune disorders, many medical professionals ignore or are unaware of gluten intolerances and celiacs disease.  If you or a loved one is experiencing pain or discomfort, do not give in. There are medical professionals who are willing and able to help you.