Celiac disease (CD) is a genetic intolerance to the gluten in wheat, rye, and barley. If you’ve never heard of CD, you’re not alone. Many medical professionals are still unaware of the disease or not current in their knowledge, so it’s significantly under diagnosed.
Once thought to be a rare disorder, CD is now known to affect at least 1 in 100 Americans. CD can develop at any age, from infancy to late adulthood. Because of the known genetic component, routine screening on a regular basis is recommended for relatives of people with CD.
Who else should be tested for CD? According to the University of Chicago, people with related autoimmune disorders (diabetes, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, etc.) and any person with Down Syndrome should be screened on a periodic basis. Click here to download a pdf from the University of Chicago with more info on who should be tested for celiac disease. Learn about the many conditions, including heart and lung symptoms, associated with undiagnosed CD by visiting the Celiac Nurse blog.
The great news about CD is that it can be treated by following a gluten free diet. Eating gluten free does not mean feeling deprived or settling for “special diet” food that’s second rate. It’s sad, but when some people hear the phrase gluten free, they automatically assume it must suck.
May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month, according to several national not-for-profit organizations dedicated to raising awareness of CD. Wouldn’t a single organization be more effective?
For current information on CD, please visit the University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center.