Celiac disease: 400 thousand patients not yet diagnosed


The AIC reveals that it is increasingly difficult to be able to make an early diagnosis of a chronic and autoimmune disease such as celiac disease . Over 400 thousand patients awaiting diagnosis, suffering from problems not easily connected to celiac disease. Years pass before the true diagnosis is known. There is in fact a similar but distinct form of celiac disease.

Its name is dermatitis herpetiformis, a chronic itchy, gluten-induced dermatitis. A long time passes before being diagnosed with a delay in adopting a gluten-free diet . This delay can lead to bowel deterioration and further complications, even fatal.

The Scientific Board of the Italian Celiac Association makes two publications available to provide health specialists with a good practice tool. They have the respective titles “Celiac disease and HLA genetic test” and “Celiac disease and herpetiform dermatitis”.


The recommendations, entrusted to Dr. Mauro Congia – Pediatric Clinic and Rare Diseases, University of Cagliari, suggest to carry out the genetic test in certain clinical situations and in different risk groups, thus reducing the indiscriminate use of the test and allowing at the same time to exclude individuals negative for DQ2 and DQ8 from long-term screening. Furthermore, the publication seeks to highlight that those patients with particularly high HLA genetic risk are also more at risk for associated autoimmune diseases such as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.


Marco Silano, Coordinator of the AIC Scientific Board

The second publication relates to herpetiform dermatitis. Its delayed diagnosis often seems to be confused with other skin conditions such as scabies, atopic dermatitis and many others like it. The Italian Celiac Association is the spokesperson for patients. It has 20 associated AICs that respond directly to the needs of the patient, improving Italian scientific research on celiac disease. In addition, it spreads the Spiga Barrata brand, the greatest guarantee of safety for celiac food.

Celiac disease is a chronic inflammation of the small intestine caused by gluten, intolerant for genetically predisposed individuals. Diagnosis is made with blood tests for specific antibodies and small intestine biopsy. The only therapy is a gluten-free diet.

  • Celiac disease: 400,000 patients not yet diagnosed. AIC disseminates updated clinical recommendations to improve the early diagnosis of celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis (


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