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Wednesday, September 12, 2007
September 13, 2007: National Celiac Awareness Day
On Monday September 10, 2007, for the second year in a row the US Senate designated September 13, 2007 as National Celiac Disease Awareness Day. Please hug your fellow Celiac and continue to spread the word so every September 13 is National Celiac Awareness Day. I also encourage you to contact Senator Ben Nelson (Nebraska) and Senator Jim Inhofe (Oklahoma) to thank them for their effort behind S.Res.314.

From Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson's website:


September 11, 2007 – Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson and Oklahoma’s Senator Jim Inhofe today praised the unanimous passage of their resolution (S.Res.314) designating September 13, 2007 “National Celiac Disease Awareness Day”.

“Due to the fact that this disease is often misdiagnosed or under-diagnosed, the need for awareness is critically important,” said Senator Ben Nelson. “Accurate information and outreach efforts are needed to ensure the continued health of people afflicted with celiac disease. This resolution is one step in helping Americans learn more about this common disease.”

“Celiac disease hits very close to home for me as I have a staffer with the disease and an Oklahoma Celiac Support Group working to promote awareness in my great state,” Senator Inhofe said. “There are many groups and organizations working to promote celiac disease, and we applaud all their efforts. Awareness can go a long way toward diagnosing and treating the millions of sufferers of celiac disease both in my home state of Oklahoma and across the nation.”

Celiac disease creates intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, as well as some medicines and vitamins. Despite the fact that one in 130 healthy people have celiac disease, and the fact that it is easily detectable, the symptoms are often attributed to other conditions as many doctors lack sufficient knowledge about the disease.

Failure to properly diagnose celiac disease can lead to damage to the small intestine and malnutrition. The good news is that the treatment (following a gluten-free diet) for celiac disease is highly effective. In most sufferers, the small intestines heal completely.

“An estimated two million Americans have celiac disease, of which only 5% are currently diagnosed,” said Mary Schluckebier, Executive Director of the Nebraska-based Celiac Sprue Association. “We thank and commend Senators Nelson and Inhofe for their understanding of the importance of the health and wellness of the American citizen as reflected in their latest accomplishment to increase the awareness of celiac disease.”

From the Library of Congress Congressional Library


[Page: S11331]

Mr. INHOFE (for himself and Mr. Nelson of Nebraska) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to:

S. Res. 314

Whereas celiac disease affects approximately 1 in every 130 people in the United States, for a total of 3,000,000 people;

Whereas the majority of people with celiac disease have yet to be diagnosed;

Whereas celiac disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder that is classified as both an autoimmune condition and a genetic condition;

Whereas celiac disease causes damage to the lining of the small intestine, which results in overall malnutrition;

Whereas, when a person with celiac disease consumes foods that contain certain protein fractions, that person suffers a cell-mediated immune response that damages the villi of the small intestine, interfering with the absorption of nutrients in food and the effectiveness of medications;

Whereas these problematic protein fractions are found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats, which are used to produce many foods, medications, and vitamins;

Whereas because celiac disease is a genetic disease, there is an increased incidence of celiac disease in families with a known history of celiac disease;

Whereas celiac disease is underdiagnosed because the symptoms can be attributed to other conditions and are easily overlooked by doctors and patients;

Whereas, as recently as 2000, the average person with celiac disease waited 11 years for a correct diagnosis;

Whereas 1/2 of all people with celiac disease do not show symptoms of the disease;

Whereas celiac disease is diagnosed by tests that measure the blood for abnormally high levels of the antibodies of immunoglobulin A, anti-tissue transglutaminase, and IgA anti-endomysium antibodies;

Whereas celiac disease can only be treated by implementing a diet free of wheat, barley, rye, and oats, often called a ``gluten-free diet'';

Whereas a delay in the diagnosis of celiac disease can result in damage to the small intestine, which leads to an increased risk for malnutrition, anemia, lymphoma, adenocarcinoma, osteoporosis, miscarriage, congenital malformation, short stature, and disorders of skin and other organs;

Whereas celiac disease is linked to many autoimmune disorders, including thyroid disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, type 1 diabetes, liver disease, collagen vascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren's syndrome;

Whereas the connection between celiac disease and diet was first established by Dr. Samuel Gee, who wrote, ``if the patient can be cured at all, it must be by means of diet'';

Whereas Dr. Samuel Gee was born on September 13, 1839; and

Whereas the Senate is an institution that can raise awareness in the general public and the medical community of celiac disease: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) designates September 13, 2007, as ``National Celiac Disease Awareness Day'';

(2) recognizes that all people of the United States should become more informed and aware of celiac disease;

(3) calls upon the people of the United States to observe the date with appropriate ceremonies and activities; and

(4) respectfully requests the Secretary of the Senate to transmit a copy of this resolution to the Celiac Sprue Association, the American Celiac Society, the Celiac Disease Foundation, the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America, and the Oklahoma Celiac Support Group No. 5 of the Celiac Sprue Association.

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