Celiac Awareness Month 2018
Celiac disease affects 1% of the American population, or about 1 in every 133 people. As common as it is, many people still fail to understand the basics about the disease – even people who have it. In fact, 83% of people who have celiac disease are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed entirely.
The Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF), started in 1990, makes it their mission to accelerate diagnosis, treatments, and a cure for celiac disease through research, education, and advocacy. As part of their mission, they are an active participant in Celiac Awareness Month which occurs every May.
But what is Celiac Awareness Month really about, and how can you get involved? Keep reading to find out more about the CDF’s mission and how you and your loved ones can become advocates for celiac disease research and education.
What is Celiac Awareness Month All About?
The Celiac Disease Foundation is just one of several nonprofit organizations that exist to promote awareness about celiac disease. Celiac disease affects roughly 3 million Americans, though more than 80% of them have yet to be properly diagnosed. You may also be surprised to learn that the incidence of celiac disease has increased four-fold over the past fifty years.
Celiac Awareness Month exists to support people who have celiac disease, to raise money for education and research, and to spread the word so that some of that 80% will be encouraged to seek treatment in order to get an accurate diagnosis.
Not only are national organizations getting involved with Celiac Awareness Month, but so are manufacturers of gluten free food products. Schär is a global manufacturer of gluten free foods and a proud sponsor of the Celiac Disease Foundations and its efforts.
Though our company was founded in Europe over 35 years ago, its inception in the United States only occurred in 2007. Since then, we have been working in support of the CDF’s mission to improve quality of life for people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. We also work to provide delicious tasting gluten free foods that are celiac-safe, flavorful, and high in quality. Our products range from breads, cookies, and snacks to baking mixes, pasta, pizza crusts, and more.
Gluten free food manufacturers like us make it possible for people with celiac disease to enjoy prepared foods and snacks without having to worry about gluten-containing ingredients or cross-contamination. It is still important, however, to raise awareness of these issues – which is why Celiac Awareness Month is so important.
Improving Education and Raising Funds
Though Celiac Awareness Month places special emphasis on the efforts of the CDF and on celiac disease itself, initiatives for research, education, and advocacy are always being pursued. Here is a quick overview of some of the initiatives the Celiac Disease Foundation is currently working on:
- Collaborations with physicians, dieticians, and researchers to expand research to better understand and one day cure celiac disease.
- To provide funds for academic research centers around the nation to advance knowledge of the causes and complications of celiac disease.
- To maintain the largest celiac disease patient registry (iCureCeliac) and to support research for developing treatments through patient-centered research efforts.
- To boost participation in clinical trials that could further the development of treatments for celiac disease.
- To create and distribute useful digital tools for patients, family members, and healthcare professionals to help diagnose, manage, and treat celiac disease.
- To expand and fund educational programming as well as resources for healthcare providers through partnerships with various organizations.
- To work together with both government agencies and national partners to take research findings and turn them into usable tools and information for healthcare professionals, patients, and caregivers.
- To recruit and train a national network of people to act as celiac disease patient advocates who will become partners in research and speak on behalf of those suffering from the disease.
- To provide policymakers with the information about the unmet needs of people with celiac disease so they can make educated decisions about legislation.
- To work with policymakers on the state and federal level to create and grow programs designed for people with celiac disease.
In addition to these initiatives, the Celiac Disease Foundation also hosts several events each year to expand celiac disease awareness and to raise funds. Each year they hold the National Conference & Gluten Free EXPO where over 3,500 attendees receive valuable information about the disease as well as the gluten free diet. They are also given the opportunity to sample the latest gluten free food products from over 100 companies including Schär.
How Can You Get Involved?
If you or a loved one has celiac disease, you might be thinking about how you can get involved with Celiac Awareness Month. Whether you want to give time, money, or support, there are a number of ways you can help – here are some ideas:
- Wear a green shirt (the unofficial color for celiac disease) or purchase a celiac disease awareness bracelet to help spread the word.
- Donate to the Celiac Disease Foundation – as part of their Raise It, Give It, Get It campaign you could receive a gluten free goodie bag containing up to six gluten free food products.
- Buy gluten free foods like Schär products to share with your friends or make a tasty gluten free meal for friends and family.
- Follow the Celiac Disease Foundation on social media and share educational posts with your friends and online followers.
- Become an advocate for celiac disease awareness – advocate for someone with celiac disease or contact congress in support of federal funding for biomedical research.
- Join Team Gluten-Free with the Celiac Disease Foundation, a community fundraising program to raise both funds and awareness for research, education, and advocacy.
Wondering if you or a loved one has celiac disease? Take the Celiac Disease Symptoms and Conditions Checklist on the Celiac Disease Foundation website. Anyone who completes the survey will receive a coupon for Schär gluten free products.