How does the incidence of chronic gastritis vary by age?

Updated: Jun 07, 2019
  • Author: Akiva J Marcus, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Age is the most important variable relating to the prevalence of H pylori infection, with persons born before 1950 having a notably higher rate of infection than those born after 1950. For example, roughly 50% of people older than 60 years are infected, compared with 20% of people younger than 40 years. [66, 74, 75]

However, this increase in infection prevalence with age is largely apparent rather than real, reflecting a continuing overall decline in the prevalence of H pylori infection. Because the infection is typically acquired in childhood and is life long, the high proportion of older individuals who are infected is the long-term result of infection that occurred in childhood when standards of living were lower. The prevalence will decrease as people who are currently aged 40 years and have a lower rate of infection grow older (a birth cohort phenomenon).

H pylori gastritis is usually acquired during childhood, and complications typically develop later. [76, 77, 78]

Patients with autoimmune gastritis usually present with pernicious anemia, which is typically diagnosed in individuals aged approximately 60 years. However, pernicious anemia can also be detected in children (juvenile pernicious anemia). [79, 80]

Lymphocytic gastritis can be observed in children but is usually detected in late adulthood. On average, patients are aged 50 years. [75]

Eosinophilic gastroenteritis mostly affects people younger than 50 years. [81]


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