Since May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month I'm going off topic here to share some information. I was diagnosed 5 years ago and don't often talk about it, but it's a health issue I believe everyone NEEDS to understand better. If you read below, the first fact is the most shocking - so many people are undiagnosed, and doctors in America are often VERY misinformed about how common this disease is. Other countries, like Ireland and Italy, they actually pre-screen at a young age because it is so common (particularly for these countries, but alas, how many of us have Irish or Italian roots!)
Here are some facts, pulled from the American Celiac Disease Alliance website:
"The number of people living with celiac disease in the United States is estimated at 2.2 million, yet only about 90,000 have been accurately diagnosed.
Symptoms of celiac disease include: anemia, osteoporosis, arthritis, diarrhea or constipation, and infertility.
Without treatment, the condition can be life threatening and has been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, especially intestinal lymphoma.
Individuals with celiac disease are unable to eat foods containing gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. For them, gluten sets off a reaction which causes damage to the small intestine, impeding the body’s ability to absorb vital nutrients.
The only course of treatment for CD is strict adherence to a gluten-free diet – no prescription drugs, injections, or invasive medical procedures."
Living with CD really isn't too tough, but it would be MUCH easier if everyone understood the disease a bit more. Because of a lack of education, the average delay in diagnosis is 11 years! If you're interested in getting your representative to cosponsor the current legislation please visit this site. It's very simple and quick to send an email using their form.