May is Celiac Awareness Month! We’re tackling the stigma and misinformation that surrounds celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. This month, take some time to educate those in your life about the disease, support the cause, or just enjoy some delicious, gluten-free food.
Celiac Disease: Fast Facts
- Celiac disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and inhibits with the absorption of nutrients from food.
- An estimated 1 in 100 people Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease.
- It is estimated that up to 83% of Americans who have celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.
- Celiac disease can affect men and women of all ages and races.
- Celiac disease can lead to a number of other disorders including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and other autoimmune diseases.
- Up to 6% of Americans have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
- Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet. There are not any pills or therapies available.
Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods and drinks, even ones that would not be expected.
Those who are gluten-free can still enjoy a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, beans, legumes and most dairy products; these ingredients are naturally gluten-free. More and more gluten-free products are becoming available on the market to replace goods made with flour like gluten-free pasta, doughnuts, broths, cereals and cookies.
Transitioning to a strict, lifelong gluten-free diet can feel overwhelming, but we’re here to get you through it! With the right resources and a bit of time, most people find it gets easier to manage.
Check out the links below to learn about celiac disease and following a glute-free diet.
- Celiac Disease Foundation-celiac.org
- Beyond Celiac- beyondceliac.org
- National Celiac Association– https://nationalceliac.org/celiac-disease-resources/