May is officially Celiac Disease Awareness Month around the world. In the US, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) has launched a campaign, called Seriously, Celiac Disease to help people talk to their family about being tested. As soon as I was diagnosed in 2009, I had this conversation with my family members. To date, they still all refuse to be tested.
Did you know that if you have a first generation family member (ie: parent, or sibling) who is diagnosed with celiac, you have a very good chance of having it yourself. Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews too. If you have a blood relative who has it, you have a good chance of having it as well. And if you have one autoimmune disease that is improperly treated (as in continuing to eat gluten if you have celiac disease, diagnosed or not, you still have it!) you are susceptible to other autoimmune diseases. I have 4.
Did you know that not everyone has overt symptoms that you would naturally attribute to celiac disease? And not all doctors will recognise the vast array of symptoms as celiac disease. Not everyone gets intestinal symptoms. I’m not sure why most doctors will say that diarrhea and weight loss are the “text book” symptoms, but not even half of celiac patients have these. When I was diagnosed at age 42, I was chronically and severely constipated, and was weight loss resistant.
Did you know that if celiac continues undiagnosed and untreated, you could be susceptible to the rigours of malnutrition, infertility, bone loss, brain dysfunction, nerve damage, several types of cancers, and many many other degenerative effects of untreated disease, and even death.
Did you know that the sooner you start on a healthy, free from gluten diet, the quicker you will heal, you will feel better, you will have more energy, and your brain fog will clear. You will feel stronger, younger, more vibrant and alive than you have for as long as you can remember! And it doesn’t matter how old you are! Any age is the perfect age to start on the road to good health. Every journey starts with one single step. Whether you’re on a cross country pilgrimage, or on a journey to good health, just one step.
One foot in front of the other, one food instead of the other.
In the USA and the province of Ontario, supplemental health insurance plans should cover the cost of testing. In all other Canadian provinces, testing is covered by provincial healthcare. Ask your doctor for a referral to a gastroenterologist who speicalises in celiac disease.