Who Does Celiac Disease Affect?

Celiac disease, a commonly misunderstood autoimmune disorder, that affects a larger portion of the population than we realize. With a prevalence of at least 1%, this condition remains largely undiagnosed, leading to prolonged suffering for many individuals. In this blog, we will delve into the lesser-known aspects of celiac disease, shedding light on its prevalence, genetic factors, and its impact across various demographics.

The Hidden Prevalence

Celiac disease is often underestimated, with a staggering 83% of cases remaining undiagnosed. This means that a significant number of individuals could be experiencing symptoms and complications associated with the condition without even realizing it. As a result, it is crucial to increase awareness and improve diagnostic methods to ensure timely intervention.

Genetic Factors

The genes HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 have been identified as strongly associated with celiac disease. When a first-degree family member, such as a parent or sibling, has celiac disease, the probability of developing the condition increases significantly. Understanding the genetic factors involved can aid in identifying individuals at higher risk, enabling earlier detection and intervention.

Age Knows No Bounds

Contrary to common belief, celiac disease can develop at any age. It is not limited to childhood and can manifest in adulthood as well. Often, individuals with undiagnosed celiac disease may have had symptoms for years before receiving a proper diagnosis. Awareness of the possibility of celiac disease at any age can facilitate more accurate and timely identification.

Diversity in Impact

Celiac disease affects individuals of all ethnicities. It is not restricted to a particular racial or ethnic group. The condition can present itself in people from different cultural backgrounds, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity in discussions and raising awareness about celiac disease. Recognizing its wide-ranging impact can help healthcare professionals and communities address the needs of diverse populations.


Celiac disease affects a significant portion of the population, yet it remains largely undiagnosed. Understanding the facts about celiac disease is crucial in raising awareness and facilitating early diagnosis. By recognizing the genetic factors, the increased risk within families, the potential for the disease to develop at any age, and its impact on individuals from various ethnic backgrounds, we can promote a more inclusive and informed approach to celiac disease. It is essential to advocate for increased education and research to ensure that those with celiac disease receive timely diagnosis, proper treatment, and the necessary support to manage their condition effectively.

For more information on celiac disease, contact the Nationional Celiac Association.