October is Celiac Awareness Month so I want to share with everyone a little bit about Celiac Disease. I have had clients who were diagnosed with Celiac Disease as small children and I have had clients who never knew they had Celiac Disease until they were tested based on symptoms they had when they were in their late 30s, 40s, or even 50s! Scary, right?
First, let me start off by telling you what Celiac Disease is. Celiac disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disorder where the consumption of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications. Some of the complications that can result from not treating Celiac Disease include iron deficiency, chronic diarrhea and severe weight loss, and even cancer!
If you have digestive difficulties, chronic migraines, brain fog, menstrual irregularities, recurrent canker sores, or any autoimmune condition, you could possibly have Celiac Disease and should get tested. Eight-three percent of people with Celiac Disease are undiagnosed! So frightening!
How is Celiac Disease treated? The main way to treat Celiac Disease is to follow a gluten-free diet. This means consuming no food that has gluten. Some foods are easier to avoid than others. Wheat, rye, and barley are the main glutinous grains so those need to be avoided and here are just some of the not-so-obvious foods that often have gluten: potato chips, ice cream, condiments, soups, beer, seasonings, candy, and the list goes on. Two websites that are great resources to learn more about Celiac Disease are www.celiac.org and www.beyondceliac.org. Be sure to check them out!