Delays in Celiac Disease Diagnoses Painful & Costly for Canadians

CCA logo wpTORONTO, May 01, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Did you know that on average Canadians with undetected celiac disease go 10 – 12 years before receiving a positive diagnosis, according to recent studies? 1

  • Angela Rotundo, 2

Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by the consumption of foods containing gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), can cause years of poor health for those unknowingly living with the condition. This also puts a financial strain on provincial health care systems, as individuals are subjected to years of unnecessary tests and hospital visits. Currently, celiac disease affects 1 in every 100 Canadians, but only 10 to 20 per cent of patients with the disease have been diagnosed.3

To close this diagnosis gap, the CCA is kicking off its “Could it be Celiac?” campaign (#GoBeyondTheGut) to educate patients on the lesser-known symptoms of celiac disease such as anemia, joint pain, bone disease, skin and reproductive issues, among others.

Additionally, as part of its Celiac Disease Awareness Month efforts in May, the CCA will launch two new patient-focused reference tools, designed to educate Canadians on the condition and promote early diagnosis.

The first tool, the CCA’s Symptom Quiz, is a self-assessment questionnaire to help patients start a dialogue with their doctor about celiac disease. Patients can complete the survey and take the results to their doctor.

The second tool, the CCA’s Growing Up Celiac Workbook, is a resource guide designed for parents of young children with celiac disease and offers tips on everything from packing school lunches to navigating social situations at school, birthday parties and sporting events.

Although there is no cure for celiac disease, the only treatment is committing to a gluten-free diet for life. “While living a gluten-free lifestyle can present its own set of challenges, clearly the biggest problem facing Canadians unknowingly living with celiac today is in understanding that they have the disease in the first place,” says CCA executive director Melissa Secord. “It’s our sincere hope that the tools we’ve created will spark more public conversations about celiac disease and lead to earlier diagnosis, which is critical to helping empower undiagnosed Canadians with the knowledge and education they need to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.”

About the Canadian Celiac Association

The Canadian Celiac Association / L’Association canadienne de la maladie coeliaque, the national voice for people adversely affected by gluten, is a volunteer-based, federally registered charitable organization with its national office in Mississauga, Ontario. It was founded in 1972 with financial assistance from the Kaufman Foundation and continues to be a source of science-based information, fostering research and encouraging mutual support among celiacs. The association serves people with celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis and gluten sensitivity through its affiliated chapters across Canada.

Media Contact: Angela Rotundo