Celiac Awareness Month: A Challenge for You
It’s estimated that Celiac Disease affects over 3 million people in the United States alone. Unfortunately 85% of those people are undiagnosed or even misdiagnosed with other medical conditions. Thankfully October is Celiac Awareness Month and we want to take this opportunity to spread the word about Celiac symptoms, treatments, and share some helpful resources and ways to advocate for this disease.
What are the symptoms?
One of the reasons that Celiac Disease can be so difficult to diagnose is the fact that there are more than 300 symptoms that often mimic those of other diseases; including IBS, Crohn’s, intestinal infections, lactose intolerance, and depression. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms (especially over time) you may want to ask your doctor for a celiac blood test:
- Skin rashes
- Joint Pain
- Or any additional symptoms listed here
- Certain other risk factors, such as having a family member with Celiac Disease, also warrant a test.
What are your treatment options?
The only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. Even consuming small amounts of gluten can bring back your symptoms and damage the intestine. Luckily today there are numerous gluten free items available in your local grocery store and following a gluten-free diet does not have to be so daunting. We have also compiled a long list of delicious gluten free recipes that can help you get started. In addition, we recommend that you join gluten free communities for support, information, and helpful gluten-free living tips.
How can we spread Celiac Awareness?
It’s vital that we build awareness of celiac disease and gluten-sensitivities in order to educate the community and help diagnose those 85% who are unable to identify their symptoms. Here are a few simple ways that you can help spread awareness:
- Talk to everyone you know! Re-post and re-tweet Celiac facts on social media and share your experience of living gluten-free with friends and family.
- Join your local Celiac Organization.
- Donate gluten free food to local food pantries
- Participate in Celiac Survey and Study opportunities
- Talk to grocery stores in your area about stocking more gluten free items
- Call local restaurants about adding gluten free options to their menu.
- Contact the Food and Drug Administration in support of the proposed 20ppm gluten-free food labeling rule.
Looking for additional resources?
We understand that it can be quite overwhelming when you’re newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease or have recently entered the gluten-free world for other reasons. Here are a few resources that may help answer any additional questions you may have.
- National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
- Mayo Clinic – Celiac Disease
- Udi’s Gluten Free Community
- Celiac Sprue Association
- Celiac Disease Foundation
- The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center
Want to know how you can get involved with Udi’s outreach? Apply to become an Udi’s Ambassador!
To become an Udi’s Community Ambassador, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.
To become an Udi’s College Ambassador, e-mail a resume to email@example.com.