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May is Celiac Awareness Month

I’m Peg Christenson, Registered Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, at Hutchinson Health with Wellness Wisdom. May is National Celiac Awareness Month. Celiac Disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.
When people with Celiac Disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage of the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body. Celiac disease is hereditary. People with a first-degree relative with Celiac Disease (parent, child, sibling) have a 1 in 10 risk of developing Celiac Disease.
If left untreated, Celiac Disease can lead to additional serious health problems. These include the development of other autoimmune disorders like Type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS), dermatitis herpetiformis (an itchy skin rash), anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, neurological conditions like epilepsy and migraines, short stature, and intestinal cancers. Currently, the only treatment for Celiac Disease is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. For more information visit celiac.org. Source used: Celiac Disease Foundation.

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