Celiac's Focus on the Family

Celiac Awareness Month encouraging families to get tested

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) While families can pass down a lot of things from one generation to the next, one thing that unfortunately gets caught in the mix is celiac disease.

May is Celiac Awareness Month, and Celiac Central by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is focusing on getting families tested for the condition with its "Fuel the Family" campaign.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by consuming gluten. Gluten is a protein found in rye, barley and wheat.

"Get checked for celiac disease if it runs in your family."

According to the NFCA, the risk of developing celiac disease increases five- to ten-fold if there's a family history of the condition.

About 1 in 141 Americans have the disease. And about 83 percent of those who have the condition are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. The average person waits 6 to 10 years before being diagnosed and there is no cure for the condition.

Though there are more than 300 symptoms of the disease, the most common symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue and itchy skin rash.

Other symptoms include tingling, numbness, joint pain, delayed growth, poor weight gain, discolored teeth and depression. If left untreated, the condition can lead to infertility, osteoporosis, thyroid disease and certain cancers, like lymphoma.

While there's no complete cure for the condition, patients can treat it by not eating gluten. Many breads, pastas and baked goods that normally contain gluten will need to be modified. Gluten is also in certain soy products, beer and rice cereal.

Different events promoting awareness will occur throughout the rest of the month, including an online silent auction going on now by Miss New Jersey International Jenna Drew that will wrap up May 15. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to the NFCA.

The NFCA (@CeliacAwareness) will also feature an expert to discuss disease awareness during its monthly Twitter Chat on May 14 at 3 pm EDT.

So Delicious is having a "Like" fundraiser for the rest of the month and EatSmart Naturals are asking for submissions on tips for people living with celiac disease. These organizations will donate $1 for every "Like" and submission up to a maximum $5,000 and $2,500, respectively.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 10, 2013
Last Updated:
December 30, 2013