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Happy Celiac Awareness Month!

Celiac Disease Awareness Month

Happy Celiac Awareness Month!

Celiac Awareness Month

May 1st marked the start of Celiac Awareness Month!  Celiac disease is a form of food allergy where the body’s immune system reacts negatively to gluten (protein in wheat, rye, barley) causing severe damage to the small intestine.  There are many nutritional implications since the ingestion of gluten decreases the absorption of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are all vital for health!  A strict gluten free diet is REQUIRED for management of celiac disease and label reading is necessary every time!

 

Wheat field

What is the prevalence of Celiac Disease? Click To Tweet

How prevalent is Celiac Disease?

  • Celiac disease affects an estimated 1 in 133. 
  • Rates of celiac disease have nearly doubled in the last 25 years in western countries.
  • The risk for developing celiac disease is increased 20 times for those who have a 1st degree relative with the disease.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease may include:

  • Anemia
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Cramps and bloating
  • Irritability
  • Burning and itching rash

Note: Asymptomatic celiac disease can occur when there are no symptoms but damage to small intestine still occurs when gluten is consumed.

What are the symptoms of Celiac Disease Click To Tweet

Tired sleeping

How is Celiac Disease Diagnosed?

1.    Blood test screening.

2.    DEFINITIVE DIAGNOSIS: Small Bowel Biopsy (done by gastroenterologist).

Note: The biopsy confirmation of celiac disease should be completed first BEFORE starting a gluten free diet!

How is Celiac Disease diagnosed? Click To Tweet

Interesting Facts!

  • From the first recognizable onset of symptoms, it takes an average time of 1 year to obtain a diagnosis of celiac disease. In some cases, the time to diagnosis may take as long as 12 years!
  • $2.5 million has been spent in the health care system as families consulted 2 or more physicians before receiving a diagnosis for their child.
  • Nearly 30% of Canadian children with celiac disease are initially misdiagnosed.
  • Gluten-free products are 2.5 times more expensive than regular items.

Bottom Line:

Celiac Awareness month is a time to become knowledgeable and empowered if you are following this diet.  For more details on following a gluten free diet see my previous post, gluten, where are you hiding.  The great facts included in my post are from Canadian Digestive Health Foundation.