Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Why: Celiac Educator?

  The University of Chicago's Celiac Disease Center published an informative list of facts and figures about the prevalence of CD in the U.S. population.  Their publication states:
Prevalence of Celiac Disease in the United States:
  • In average healthy people: 1 in 133
  • In people with related symptoms: 1 in 56
  • In people with first-degree relatives (parent, child, sibling) who are celiac: 1 in 22
  • In people with second-degree relatives (aunt, uncle, cousin) who are celiac: 1 in 39
  • Estimated prevalence for African-, Hispanic- and Asian-Americans: 1 in 236
  • In the landmark prevalence study on celiac disease, investigators determined that 60% of children and 41% of adults diagnosed during the study were asymptomatic (without any symptoms).
  • During the prevalence study, researchers found that 21% of patients with a positive anti-endomysial antibody test could not receive a biopsy due to the refusal of their physician to perform the procedure or the insurance company to pay for it.   
  According to the Mayo Clinic News website,

Celiac disease, an immune system reaction to gluten in the diet, is at least four times as common today as it was 50 years ago, according to findings of a Mayo Clinic study published this month in the journal Gastroenterology.

The study also found that subjects who unknowingly had celiac disease were nearly four times as likely as celiac-free subjects to have died during the 45 years of follow-up.
  According to the Celiac Sprue Association, "The best and only known treatment for CD is simply this: a lifelong elimination of "gluten"."

  With and Without treatment, people who are symptomatic with Celiac Disease symptoms can experience numerous troubles including:
  • abdominal bloating and pain
  • chronic diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
  • weight loss
  • irritability
  • malabsorption of nutrients
  • failure to thrive in infants
  • delayed growth and short stature
  • delayed puberty
  • dental enamel defects of the permanent teeth
  • unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
  • fatigue
  • bone or joint pain
  • arthritis
  • bone loss or osteoporosis
  • depression or anxiety
  • tingling numbness in the hands and feet
  • seizures
  • missed menstrual periods
  • infertility or recurrent miscarriage
  • canker sores inside the mouth
  • an itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
  A failure to stick to a Gluten-Free diet can be worse in the long run:  "Untreated celiac disease damages the small intestine and interferes with nutrient absorption.  Without treatment, people with celiac disease can develop complications such as osteoporosis, anemia, and cancer"  (National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse).
  Numerous questions present themselves for any self-conscious diagnosed person and/or any person who is a caregiver or loved one for diagnosed persons.
  At the same time, for various reasons, a Gluten-Free lifestyle can be very difficult for anyone.

  Thus the need for Celiac Educator.  The mission of Celiac Educator is to provide affordable consumer-level education and information as well as focused training of professionals upon whom those with CD and their loved ones depend.

  This is "Why: Celiac Educator?"  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at nepeht@hotmail.com.

  William T. Beverly, Ph.D.

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