May is National Celiac Disease Awareness month!
What is celiac disease?
Celiac disease is a autoimmune disease, in which eating gluten can result in damage to the small intestine. People with celiac disease cannot eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. They must avoid eating gluten-containing foods and must be cautious of cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when gluten-free food is exposed to gluten-containing ingredients or foods.
Who is affected by celiac disease?
It is estimated that celiac disease affects 1 in 100 people in the world with a majority of people still undiagnosed. Researchers have found there is an increased risk of having celiac disease if an immediate family member has been diagnosed. Researchers still don’t know what triggers the onset of celiac disease in some and not others, and why onset occurs at varying ages.
What are common symptoms?
Most common symptoms relate to digestive problems and discomfort. Digestive symptoms are more common in children than adults. Children with celiac can experience malnutrition, delayed puberty, or slow growth. Celiac disease can also affect the bones, joints, nervous system, skin, and spleen.
Are there treatments or cures?
The single most effective cure for celiac disease is to eliminate gluten from the diet. Symptoms usually resolve in time with a strict gluten-free diet. There are no clinically accepted treatments for gluten exposure.
Why is awareness important?
• Many people don’t know about celiac disease.
• Over 80% of people with celiac disease don’t know they have the disease.
• More research is needed to develop treatments and cures
If you have celiac disease or know someone with celiac disease…
• Talk about celiac disease and gluten-free lifestyles
• Consider sharing gluten-free meal options and meal plans
The month of May is an opportunity to start conversations about celiac disease. Join the @SteeleCenter in this conversation and talk to your family and friends about #celiacdisease, #celiacresearch and #celiacawareness
For more information check out our Facebook and Twitter at:
Hashtags: #childrensresearch #steelecenter #awareness #universityofarizona #collegeofmedicine
Stay tuned for more from the Steele Center's Pulse of Pediatric Research Blog-- coming soon!