May is Celiac Awareness Month, and we are so happy that it is. Far too few individuals have a clear understanding of what Celiac Disease is, how it can affect individuals, and why it is so much more complex than just being “gluten-free.” Here are some facts you might not know about living with Celiac!
Celiac is an autoimmune disease. That means Celiac is something people have for life, and can only control through lifestyle changes. In this case, that lifestyle change involves eliminating all gluten.
Eliminating gluten is not 100% effective for controlling Celiac symptoms. In fact, 20% of Americans with Celiac do not respond to a gluten-free diet.
Many people go undiagnosed for years. 80% of Americans with Celiac alone go undiagnosed, suffering needlessly with the disease.
There are over 300 symptoms associated with Celiac disease. Among them are bloating, anemia, depression, bone loss, weight loss, and chronic fatigue.
A late diagnosis can be dangerous. Studies have shown that the later the age of celiac disease diagnosis, the greater the chance of developing another autoimmune disorder. A late diagnosis may also lead to intestinal cancers, type 1 diabetes, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, multiple sclerosis, anemia, infertility and miscarriage, epilepsy, and more.
Celiac disease is often genetic. If you have a first-degree relative with Celiac disease and show any of the symptoms, you should be tested immediately.
To those of you living with Celiac Disease, we see you. And we stand with you. For more information, visit the Celiac Disease Foundation’s website.