Brief report: Physician awareness of celiac disease
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BACKGROUND: Celiac disease is a common disorder (up to 0.7%); however, it is uncommonly diagnosed in the United States.
OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine physician awareness of celiac disease.
DESIGN: Surveys completed by 2,440 (47%) of 5,191 patients in a support group were analyzed for frequency of diagnosis by physician specialties. Questionnaires were then sent to primary care physicians (PCPs) (n=132) in a southern California county to assess knowledge of celiac disease.
RESULTS: In patient surveys, only 11% were diagnosed by PCPs (internists and family physicians) versus 65% by gastroenterologists. Physician surveys (70% response) showed that only 35% of PCPs had ever diagnosed celiac disease. Almost all physicians (95%) knew of wheat intolerance, but few (32%) knew that onset of symptoms in adulthood is common. Physicians were well aware (90%) of diarrhea as a symptom, but fewer knew of common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (71%), chronic abdominal pain (67%), fatigue (54%), depression and irritability (24%) or of associations with diabetes (13%), anemia (45%) or osteoporosis (45%), or of diagnosis by endomysial antibody tests (44%).
CONCLUSIONS: Lack of physician awareness of adult onset of symptoms, associated disorders, and use of serology testing may contribute to the underdiagnosis of celiac disease.
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About this Article
- Brief report: Physician awareness of celiac disease
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Volume 20, Issue 7 , pp 644-646
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- celiac disease
- primary care physicians
- endomysial antibodies
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, Calif, USA
- 3. West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Hospital, Calif, USA
- 4. The Celiac Disease Foundation, Studio City, Calif, USA