In case you missed the memo May is National Celiac Awareness Month. You might know this with our 30 Days to Easy-Gluten Free Living event or all of the bloggers being featured on Celiac Central: Bits and Bites. I’m honored that today they are featuring me on their blog.
The NFCA or National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has been part of my life soon after my diagnosis. I went to their website Celiac Central for information and I attended their annual Washington DC Gluten Free Cooking Spree events where I learned from the experts. It was very educational and there was a lot of foods I could eat all in one place. I was like a little kid when I attended my first event.
The NFCA offers many events all over the country where they share the gluten free life. The NFCA also offers educational events, training for food service and health care providers and a ton or resources including videos. Their website is so packed with information that every time you visit you’ll find something new that can help you. Even if you are not sure you need to live gluten free. They have a Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist that you can fill out and even take with you to the doctor.
Here is a little info from their site on Celiac Disease.
Celiac and Gluten-Free Fast Facts:
- Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.
- One in 133 Americans have celiac disease.
- An estimated 3 million Americans across all races, ages and genders suffer from celiac.
- 95% of celiacs are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions. (Source: Fasano A, et al. Arch Intern Med. 2003;163:286-292.)
- 6-10 years is the average time a person waits to be correctly diagnosed. (Source: Daniel Leffler, MD, MS, The Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center)
- 5-22% of celiac patients have an immediate family member (1st degree relative) who also has celiac.
- Celiac disease can lead to a number of other disorders including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and other autoimmune diseases.
Learn more about Related Diseases »
- $5,000-$12,000 is the average cost of misdiagnosis per person/per year of celiac, not including lost work time.
- There are NO pharmaceutical cures for celiac disease.
- A 100% gluten-free diet is the only existing treatment for celiac today. Get gluten-free recipes and tips on where to shop »
- A positive attitude, 100% of the time, helps celiacs create a gluten-free lifestyle for themselves and their affected family members.
- The celiac disease diagnosis rate may reach 50-60% by 2019, thanks to efforts to raise public awareness of celiac disease. (Source: Datamonitor Group, 2009)
- The gluten-free sales are expected to reach $2.8 billion by the end of 2010 thanks to new vendors manufacturing better tasting and more affordable products. (Source: SPINSscan, 2010)
So by now you’re thinking this is great I need to go check out the NFCA website, but really who are these people. I can tell you from meeting many of them they are wonderful caring people who have a passion to educate. But just in case you want more here is their official description:
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) was formed as a national 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization to raise awareness of celiac disease among the general public and the healthcare community, and to facilitate research to better understand the causes, mechanisms, and treatment of celiac disease.
Awareness brings treatment that, in turn, brings improvement of the quality of life for those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Our goal is to reduce the time to diagnosis and, in the process, reduce the devastating impact of undiagnosed celiac disease, including the contraction of others diseases such as cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and an “autoimmune cascade.”
NFCA is affiliated with the leading researchers internationally and supports collaboration and partnership among scientists and institutions to optimize research potential with the goal of improving the quality of life for those who have celiac disease.