Aim: To investigate the incidence rate of diagnosed coeliac disease among the paediatric population in the province of Cáceres and the changes over the years.
Methods: The incidence rate of diagnosed coeliac disease between the years 1981 and 1999, age at diagnosis and clinical presentation form were investigated. The study was carried out over two periods: A (1981 to 1990) and B (1991 to 1999).
Results: The incidence rate for period A was 6.87/100,000 (CI 95%: 5.26-8.83) and for period B 16.04/100,000 (CI 95%: 12.99-19.59) (p < 0.0001). The relative risk of receiving a diagnosis of coeliac disease during the first four years of life was 2.31% (CI 95%:1.61-3.31) greater in period B than in period A. The mean age at diagnosis was 37.4 +/- 47.4 mo and 43.9 +/- 43.7 mo in A and B, respectively (p = 0.0058). The typical clinical pattern was the most frequent (83.6% in A and 58.3% in B). The mean age of introduction of gluten to the diet was 4.6 +/- 2.0 mo and 6.9 +/- 1.7 mo, for period A and B, respectively (p < 0.0001).
Conclusion: The incidence rate of coeliac disease has increased during the two periods studied. In recent years, the relative risk of receiving a diagnosis of coeliac disease during the first four years of life has increased. The atypical clinical presentation has also increased, although the typical clinical form is still the most frequent in younger children.