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BigRog

A Letter I Wrote To My State Legislators - Virginia

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Celiac's Disease and The ABC

Celiac.com 06/26/2007 - Celiac disease is one of the most common chronic health disorders in western countries. It is also one of the most under-diagnosed. Up until ten years ago, medical schools taught that celiac disease was relatively rare and only affected about 1 in 2,500 people. It was also thought to be a disease that primarily affected children and young people. Recent studies and advances in diagnosis show that at least 3 million Americans, or about 1 in 133 people have celiac disease, but only 1-in-4,700 is ever diagnosed.

The National Institutes of Health shows the prevalence of celiac disease to other well-known conditions as follows:

Celiac Disease affects 3 million Americans

Epilepsy affects 2.8 million Americans

Crohn's Disease affects 500,000 Americans

Ulcerative Colitis affects 500,000 Americans

Multiple Sclerosis affects 333,000 Americans

Cystic Fibrosis affects 30,000 Americans

If people with celiac disease continue to eat gluten, studies show that their risk of gastrointestinal cancer is 40 to 100 times that of the normal population. In addition to increased cancer risk, untreated celiac disease is associated with osteoporosis, and a two-fold increase in the risk of fractures, including first-time hip fractures. Moreover, an unusually high percentage of people with celiac disease suffer from the following related conditions (% in parenthesis):

Anemia (3-6%)

Arthritis (20%)

Ataxia (40%)

Cancer

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