Celiac disease in African-Americans

Dig Dis Sci. 2006 May;51(5):1012-5. doi: 10.1007/s10620-005-9000-5. Epub 2006 Apr 27.


Celiac disease is generally under diagnosed in the United States and it is unclear whether the disease is encountered in ethnic minorities. Our purpose is to describe a case series of African-American patients with celiac disease. Nine (1.3%) African-American patients with celiac disease were identified from a prospectively generated database of 700 patients with biopsy proven celiac disease and seen between 1981 and 2004. Females predominated, with seven, compared to two males. Diarrhea was the presentation in only two patients, while three presented with iron deficiency anemia. One third had at least one autoimmune disease. Compliance with a gluten-free diet, the only medical therapy of this disease, was poor. Only four patients adhered strictly to the diet. Celiac disease occurs in African-Americans and may well be underdiagnosed. Special attention needs to be given to methods that encourage adherence to the diet in minority groups.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy
  • Celiac Disease / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Glutens / adverse effects
  • HLA-DQ Antigens / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Refusal


  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DQ2 antigen
  • HLA-DQ8 antigen
  • Glutens