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Has Celiac Disease Become More Common?

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Back when I was diagnosed in 2009, Celiac Disease was not as widely recognized as it is today. Many people were unaware of the condition and the detrimental effects gluten could have on individuals suffering from this Disease.

Prior to my diagnosis I worked as a flight attendant and only ever knew of one person with Celiac (a fellow hosty) - but having said that, I was completely naive and had no true understanding of what it was. I admit I was one of those people that asked if she could just pull the bread off the sandwiches and eat the fillings when she hadn't been catered for one day on our flight.

Today, however, it seems like more and more people are getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease, leading to a pertinent question - why is this happening?

The surge in Celiac Disease diagnoses can be attributed to increased awareness and advancements in medical testing. Increased awareness has led to more people recognizing the symptoms and advocating for their health. With more people pushing for testing, the likelihood of a diagnosis is much higher.

Yet, despite this progress, instances where medical professionals overlook the symptoms of Celiac Disease are still prevalent. This highlights the ongoing need for patient advocacy, especially in places like Australia, where access to free medical care is a privilege that should be utilized for early diagnosis and treatment.

The increase in Celiac Disease diagnoses does not necessarily mean that more people are developing the disease. It could be that more people are getting diagnosed due to increased awareness and access to testing. This is not to say that the rise in Celiac Disease is not concerning. It's important to understand what this increase means for us all, from those personally affected by the disease to the healthcare industry and society at large.

Interestingly, some countries, like Italy, are taking proactive measures to tackle the issue by testing every child for Celiac Disease. This step will not only help diagnose the disease early but also prevent potential health complications that could arise if left untreated. While this approach might be seen as financially burdensome, the long-term benefits of early diagnosis and treatment could outweigh the initial costs.

However, there's a need for continuous education about Celiac Disease to ensure people recognize the symptoms and push for testing. This is especially important because the symptoms of Celiac Disease can vary greatly and can often be mistaken for other conditions. Many people who finally get a Celiac diagnosis report that they had been misdiagnosed for a number of years.

While the awareness around Celiac Disease has certainly increased, there's still a long way to go. Many people, including medical professionals, still lack knowledge about this condition. It's essential to keep the conversation going and continue advocating for testing and research.

In conclusion, the rise in Celiac Disease diagnoses can be seen as a sign of progress in the healthcare sector. Increased awareness, improved testing methods, and better patient advocacy are all contributing to more people getting the diagnosis they need.

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