Background Coeliac disease affects adult Asians from north India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the UK but how commonly this occurs is unknown. An audit of coeliac disease was therefore conducted in a well-defined area in southern Derbyshire.
Methods All white and Asian patients with biopsy-confirmed coeliac disease diagnosed between 1958 and 2008 were identified. Population data from the Office of National Statistics allowed the calculation of prevalence. Presenting symptoms, adherence to a gluten-free diet and follow-up record were determined for Asians and compared with matched white patients.
Results Among 1305 coeliac patients diagnosed between 1958 and 2008, 82 were Asian. Coeliac disease occurred significantly more frequently in Asian than white individuals and this could be attributed to the significantly higher prevalence in women 16 years and older and under 60 years of age. No Asian man over the age of 65 years was diagnosed with coeliac disease. Asians are more likely to present with anaemia and less likely to present with diarrhoea than white individuals. Asians are less likely to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet than white patients.
Conclusions This baseline audit indicates that increased efforts should be directed towards diagnosing coeliac disease in Asian men over the age of 65 years, in whom at present it is unrepresented. Strategies also need to be developed to help more Asian patients adhere strictly to the gluten-free diet.
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