The medical community provides a variety of reasons why gluten intolerance and celiac disease have proven to be severely underdiagnosed “decoy” conditions. Up until recently, celiac disease has been considered a rare disease, not affecting the numbers of people it’s now known to affect, let alone the number of unsuspected sufferers. When a disease is out of the public eye, it’s often out of the mind, and doctors have regularly overlooked celiac disease as being a cause for the patient’s symptoms, because they’re looking elsewhere for more “common” conditions or denominators. And if the symptoms are latent, the disease can remain a mystery within the individual.
Since everyone with gluten intolerance has their own signature set of reactions to gluten, it can be a challenge to diagnose, because there are no specific, unwavering symptoms. Plus, there are a variety of other conditions with symptoms similar to those of gluten intolerance. Gastrointestinal disorders such as lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and Crohn’s Disease cause symptoms similar to gluten intolerance, but are much more commonly diagnosed. Countless scenarios are surfacing of individuals reporting they’ve been diagnosed with “anything and everything under the sun,” except for the condition masquerading in disguise: celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
While it’s not surprising the general population is still largely unaware of gluten intolerance and celiac disease, it is surprising that the medical community has been slow to build its own uniform level of awareness. And unfortunately, underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed cases still abound.