Celiac disease is being diagnosed six times more often now than 20 years ago. Scottish health officials have revealed that while 1.7 in 100,000 children were diagnosed in the early 1990s, that number has risen to 11.8 in 100,000 in the past few years. The cause of this shift is difficult to determine, since celiac disease is genetic. Solving this problem is not as simple as pinpointing a single environmental or behavioral trigger. More children are being diagnosed with the disease because more children are being born with the celiac gene.
People who are born with the gene do not always develop full-blown celiac disease. The gene has to be activated by a virus that targets the intestines. Logic suggests that these viruses might be presenting themselves more often than they did in the past, and this could very well be true. There are countless studies proving the dangers posed by the foods produced by the factory farming system. Since celiac disease is usually not diagnosed until the virus does its damage and symptoms become evident, it is nearly impossible to determine exactly when and where a person may have contracted the virus. Symptoms of the disease appear in response to gluten consumption.
Though the number of diagnoses is six times higher than it used to be, this does not mean that six times more people have celiac disease. A good portion of the diagnoses can be attributed to advances in medical care and increased awareness of the illness. Now that so many more people require gluten-free foods, it is likely that restaurants and manufacturers will continue their efforts to provide safe options for people with celiac disease.