Today is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day in honor of the birth of Dr. Samuel Gee on September 13, 1839, who identified a link between celiac disease and diet. According to the American Celiac Disease Foundation, celiac disease is the most common autoimmune disorder in the world. It affects as many as 3 million Americans, or roughly 1% of the population, but 97% of people who are experiencing symptoms remain undiagnosed and suffering needlessly.
It is important to continue to promote awareness on this day and every other day, so here are some tips:
- Wear “Gluten Free” gear (hats, t-shirts). This is a great way to strike up a conversation with a stranger and educate them about the disease.
- Wear 'green' as that is the official color of celiac disease awareness
- Share the celiac disease symptom check list on social media
- Distribute education materials to local doctors/dietitians offices, gyms, schools, etc. The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America has a great selection of printable educational bulletins.
- Write a blog post about your celiac disease diagnosis and share your experiences on the gluten-free diet
This is also a good time to remember to schedule your yearly blood tests that should include:
• IgA endomysial (EMA)
• IgA tissue transglutamise (tTG,)
• Total serum IgA
Being diagnosed with celiac disease has saved my life in more than one way. Now I am striving, living a gluten-free lifestyle, and I am working as a gluten-free consultant to expand options on grocery store shelves and in restaurants.
What are you doing to promote celiac disease awareness?