Celiac disease is surprisingly a somewhat common disease, yet since we still know so little about it, it usually goes undiagnosed. This article will examine where around the world this disease is most prevalent. It used to be that celiac was considered a “Northern European” disease mostly found in people of Finnish, Swedish, German, and British descent. However, it is becoming very prevalent in some other areas of the world, so this is no longer considered a Northern European disease.
One surprising thing is that celiac disease is on the rise in the western world, particularly in the U.S. This is due to genetic as well as environmental factors. Some researchers are examining if this rise is linked to the way we process our food and the ingredients that make it up.
The good news is that celiac is not something that you can “catch” or develop, it is a genetic disease. The tricky thing is that most people do not know they have it, and it has previously gone undiagnosed until a later age. This means that a person could have been living with it and not know. Also, while a person can have the gene, the disease may not be “triggered” until a certain point in their life when they find out they have it. For all these reasons, it is best to just get tested for it by a doctor if it runs in your family or you may have it due to symptoms or other concerns.
So, where in the world do we see the most cases of celiac?
1. Finland 1 in 60
2. Algeria 1 in 70
3. Turkey 1 in 77
4. Sweden, Australia, UK 1 in 100
5. Iran 1 in 104
6. Ireland 1 in 120
7. Denmark 1 in 130
8. Switzerland 1 in 132
9. US and Canada 1 in 133
10. Israel and Saudi Arabia 1 in 157
11. Argentina 1 in 167
12. Italy and Netherlands 1 in 184
13. Spain 1 in 200
14. Brazil 1 in 273
15. France 1 in 300
16. India 1 in 310
17. Germany 1 in 500
Predominately, the disease is still prevalent in most of Northern Europe but is also surprisingly becoming common in Italy (who knew with all that bread and pasta!) as well as Northern Africa and the Middle East.