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Keywords:

  • celiac disease;
  • diarrhea and malabsorption;
  • epidemiology;
  • gastroenterology;
  • gluten free diet;
  • guidelines;
  • intestinal disorders;
  • intestinal epithelial transport absorption and secretion

Abstract

Background and Aim

Once thought to be uncommon in Asia, coeliac disease (CD) is now being increasingly recognized in Asia–Pacific region. In many Asian nations, CD is still considered to be either nonexistent or very rare. In recognition of such heterogeneity of knowledge and awareness, the World Gastroenterology Organization and the Asian Pacific Association of Gastroenterology commissioned a working party to address the key issues in emergence of CD in Asia.

Methods

A working group consisting of members from Asia–Pacific region, Europe, North America, and South America reviewed relevant existing literature with focus on those issues specific to Asia–Pacific region both in terms of what exists and what needs to be done.

Results

The working group identified the gaps in epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of CD in Asian–Pacific region and recommended the following: to establish prevalence of CD across region, increase in awareness about CD among physicians and patients, and recognition of atypical manifestations of CD. The challenges such as variability in performance of serological tests, lack of population-specific cut-offs values for a positive test, need for expert dietitians for proper counseling and supervision of patients, need for gluten-free infrastructure in food supply and creation of patient advocacy organizations were also emphasized.

Conclusions

Although absolute number of patients with CD at present is not very large, this number is expected to increase over the next few years or decades. It is thus appropriate that medical community across the Asia–Pacific region define extent of problem and get prepared to handle impending epidemic of CD.