The following is a letter that was sent to me by Wendy Wark of Exton, PA. We urge you to create your own letter based on this example, and send it to your local media, specifically to the health editors of newspapers, magazines and TV stations.
- LETTER TO EDITOR
September 1, 200_Dear Health Editor:
Celiac.com Sponsor (A12):
OCTOBER IS CELIAC AWARENESS MONTH!
Please consider a story about a health condition called Celiac Sprue. Celiac is a mystery illness thats becoming less of mystery and finally becoming more correctly diagnosed. Celiac Sprue, also known as gluten intolerance, is a permanent, lifelong intolerance to gluten (a protein found in wheat & other grains). Considering our diet is primarily a wheat-based diet, this condition touches many Americans.
A HOT TOPIC!
As many as 1 in 150 Americans are expected to have the condition. Celiac Sprue is an up & coming hot health topic; one that your readers will find
interesting and who may have the condition themselves or someone in their inner-circle. The reason its Hot ...
* In July 2000 Rich Gannon, Quarterback for Oakland Raiders, has become the new national spokesperson for Celiac Sprue.
* The media is beginning to report on the guiles of gluten as seen in Newsweek (noted on Research Information Reference Sheet).
* The University of Maryland is now conducting a 5-year nationwide study to prove that the U.S. has the frequency similar to Europe - about 1 in 150 persons (see enclosed studys preliminary findings).
Fortunately in the 1950s Celiac Sprue was identified, but its unfortunate that the road has been slow to get the medical community, and the general public, informed.
CELIAC HOT POINTS
There are so many points why Celiac Sprue awareness is important:
1 - There are other diseases occurring less frequently that get more media attention. For instance,
Lyme Disease ... 16,000 cases each year
Lou Gehrigs Disease... 30,000 cases
Parkinsons Disease ... ~ 500,000 affected Americans
Celiac Sprue (Gluten Intolerance) ... ~1,000,000 affected Americans
2 - Many people are undiagnosed and suffering daily with painful Celiac symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue and depression.
3 - Many people are misdiagnosed due to the medical profession not recognizing the prevalence of this condition. Many physicians either know
very little about it or nothing at all.
4 - Concise food labeling is critical by food manufacturers so consumers arent contaminated with forbidden ingredients. For instance, food
manufacturers use natural flavorings which can be anything under the sun. Unclear labeling is not only a problem just for Celiacs, but anyone with any type of food sensitivity.
5 - There is an exorbitant cost to insurance companies as people go for years trying to uncover their mystery illness. In the case of our son, we
incurred about a $60,000 surgery and hospital bill which could have been avoided; with an earlier, correct diagnosis we would have incurred only a
fraction of the medical fees. The steps to diagnose Celiac Sprue first is a blood test to screen antibodies. If that proves positive, then an outpatient
endoscopy is conducted.
WHY SPREAD THE WORD?
Both common folk along with the medical profession needs to learn about this condition. Fortunately there is a rather simple cure for this eluding condition ... a gluten-free diet. But unless a physician can spot and test for Celiac Sprue in their patient, the patient doesnt avoid gluten-filled foods. The treatment is uncomplicated ... a dietary change by removing the offending gluten! No surgery or drugs needed!
Please consider sharing this condition with your audience. Probably many of your readers will have some of the symptoms mentioned, or will know about family or friends that are suffering. Im committed to educating others about this condition, so much so, that Ive written a book Living Healthy With Celiac Disease. Its filled with information to help get newly-diagnosed persons quickly on the road to recovery. Let me know if you would like a complimentary copy.
If you have interest in this, please contact me at 610 363-5049 for further information. Ive included a Description of Celiac Sprue and our Personal Story. Ive also enclosed a page with Research Information Resources along with other backup information.
Thanks for the consideration.
Description of Celiac Sprue
Research Information Resources
Study Findings from University of Maryland Study (http://www.celiaccenter.org)
- DESCRIPTION OF CELIAC
Description of Celiac Sprue
Prepared by Wendy Wark
September 1, 2000
- OUR PERSONAL STORY
Our Personal Story
September 1, 2000
- RESEARCH INFORMATION RESOURCES
National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse, 4/98 updtd 7/13/99