September 13 is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day

In honor of the birthday of Dr. Samuel Gee, a leader in celiac disease (CD) research who identified a link between the disease and diet, September 13  has been dubbed “National Celiac Disease Awareness Day.”  Read on for information about what you can do to help raise awareness for this disease that affects millions of Americans each and every day of their lives.

Understand the Prevalence of CD – If you know 133 people, you know someone with CD:

  • It is estimated that 1 in 133 people have CD
  • However, 97% of those affected are undiagnosed and, therefore, not receiving proper treatment

 

Know the Symptoms – so many suffer without knowing why:

CD can rear its head at any time in a person’s life.  However, it is often triggered from a period of severe stress, after having surgery, going through pregnancy/childbirth or contracting a viral infection.  The symptoms vary greatly from person to person, however the most common include:

Children:

  • Growth failure
  • Vomiting
  • Bloated/distended abdomen
  • Changes in behavior

Adults:

  • Bloating, gas, abdominal pain
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation or both
  • Unexplained weight loss/gain
  • Pale, foul-smelling stool
  • Anemia
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Behavior changes/depression/irritability
  • Vitamin K deficiency
  • Fatigue/lethargy
  • Delayed growth or onset of puberty
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Infertility, both male and female
  • Canker sores in the mouth
  • Tooth discoloration or loss of enamel

Know the long-term effects of untreated CD – they are serious

When left untreated, CD can have serious long-term effects on your health, including: 

  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Osteoporosis/osteopenia
  • Vitamin K deficiency, with risk for hemorrhaging
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Central and peripheral nervous system disorders – usually due to unsuspected nutrient deficiencies
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Intestinal lymphomas and other GI cancers
  • Neurological conditions
  • Gall bladder malfunction

What You Can Do to Raise Awareness:

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