Spotting the warning signs this Celiac Disease Awareness Month

Celiac Disease Awareness Month

May marks Celiac Disease Awareness Month in the US with May 16, 2023 being International Celiac Awareness Day.

Organized by the Celiac Disease Foundation, it’s a national event designed to raise awareness of celiac disease with fundraising events taking place across the country.

The aim for this year’s Celiac Awareness Month is to generate support and research for treatment and a cure.

On May 16, for the third year running, the Celiac Disease Foundation will also be supporting schools in the US with Celiac Strong Day – an initiative which encourages teachers and students to talk about symptoms, wear the charity color blue, and enjoy gluten-free goods donated by CDF Proud Sponsors Snyder’s and Nairn’s.

By talking about the condition and being aware of the warning signs and risk factors, more people can get the support they need.

Celiac disease: what to look out for

Celiac disease is an auto-immune condition, which means the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue when gluten is eaten. This results in damage to the gut lining and means the body can’t digest nutrients properly. Celiac disease is a food intolerance, not an allergy.

1 in 100 people across the globe are diagnosed with celiac disease, although it’s thought that thousands more could be suffering with unexplained symptoms. However, it’s important to remember that symptoms can vary from person to person, and having the associated symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you have celiac disease.

Some of the most common symptoms to look out for include:

  • Bloating and wind
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and sickness
  • Constipation
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Unexpected weight loss

There are also several lesser-known symptoms. These include:

  • Mouth ulcers
  • Anemia
  • Skin rashes
  • Bone diseases
  • Migraines

As celiac disease affects the gut, it’s very common for it to be misdiagnosed as IBS or Crohn’s Disease. If you have any digestive concerns, it’s important that you speak to a medical professional as soon as possible.

What causes celiac disease?

Celiac disease is caused by an immune system reaction to gluten found in foods like pasta, bread, biscuits, and cereals. When gluten is eaten, the immune system mistakes healthy cells for harmful ones and creates antibodies to attack them. These antibodies then cause your gut to become red and swollen, which impacts digestion.

The main trigger of a celiac flare-up is gluten, but some people also find that eating oats can cause symptoms. This is usually because of cross-contamination during the production of oats.

It’s not fully known why some people develop the condition, or why some people have mild symptoms and others have more severe symptoms. However, researchers have confirmed that there are certain factors known to increase your risk of developing the condition.

These include:

  • Family history – Celiac disease runs in families. 1 in 10 who have celiac disease also have a family member with the condition.
  • Health conditions – There are also other health conditions that can increase your risk of celiac disease. These include Type 1 diabetes, thyroid conditions, Down’s Syndrome, and Turner Syndrome.

Treatment for celiac disease

Once an individual has been diagnosed with celiac disease, the only treatment available is a gluten-free diet. However, as a leading health testing laboratory, we know that it can take years for someone to get the diagnosis they need. Not to mention the worry that comes with genetic conditions when a family member is diagnosed.

For just $109, an AlphaBiolabs Genetic Celiac Disease Test can tell you whether you have the genes associated with celiac disease, with only a simple cheek swab DNA sample required.

Our test uses Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing to confirm or rule out the potential of developing celiac disease by analyzing six DNA markers for the HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes. Simply collect your cheek swab samples at home, return them to our award-winning laboratory, and receive your secure, confidential results via email in 5-7 business days.

The test can be performed on anyone of any age, from young children to adults. However, we strongly advise that you speak to your physician before making any decisions regarding dietary changes based on the results of the test.

For more information, contact our friendly and knowledgeable Customer Services team on

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