National Celiac Disease Awareness Day
September 13 is observed as “National Celiac Disease Awareness Day” in honor of the doctor who identified a link between celiac disease and diet: Dr. Samuel Gee. He was a leader in celiac disease research and was born on September 13, 1839.
Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder wherein a person can’t consume gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. The affected person’s immune system reacts by attacking the small intestine and hampering the absorption of important nutrients. If left undiagnosed or untreated, celiac disease can lead to other disorders, including cancer, osteoporosis and even infertility.
Interesting facts about Celiac disease:
- Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disease, which means you cannot “grow out” of it.
- 1 in 100 people worldwide have celiac disease.
- People with a first degree relative with celiac disease have a 1 in 10 chance of developing celiac disease themselves.
- Sticking to the gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease.
- Approximately 50% of diagnosed patients still report symptoms while on a gluten-free diet.
- There is an average delay of 6-10 years for an accurate celiac disease diagnosis.
- Many people with celiac disease are asymptomatic and don’t experience any external symptoms.
- Celiac disease can develop at any age.
- The later the age of celiac disease diagnosis, the greater the chance of developing another autoimmune disorder.
It’s time to become aware and sensitive to those who may be suffering from this disease. Following a gluten-free diet is one of the best and safest ways to prevent this condition from getting worse.