Take a trip with me…it’s a quick one but it takes you to a place where some may believe will come true some day, for others it may be doubtful. Either way, for now, I like to call this place…”fantasia”. It was a term I used to use when I worked in tv news when I pitched my vision for a story – the word seems to work for this post as well. This particular fantasia is purely focused on one question: What would the United States look like if all people with celiac disease were diagnosed?

Earlier this month when I looked ahead at the next decade and what it may hold for celiac disease, I posed this very question. This would mean that all 3 million Americans who researchers predict have celiac disease were diagnosed and living a gluten-free lifestyle. Right now, they predict that 97% of those 3 million don’t know they have celiac disease*. To put that into perspective, the University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center says there are 3 million people with Type 1 diabetes.

So let’s begin…

More and cheaper specialty gluten-free food products.

I know it’s an obvious one, but right now it is still so hit or miss as to whether you can find gluten-free items in the mainstream grocery store. When we travel we still always have to have a back-up plan for food with us, because you never know if you will find gluten-free food.

Eating out would be a breeze:

Restaurants would commit to doing gluten-free right:  dedicating a special area for gluten-free food preparation and making it easy for us to order gluten-free.  There would be no more accidental cross contaminations, no confused looks on servers’ faces, no leaving restaurants because the chef cannot accommodate you at restaurants.

Mainstream companies would automatically make much of their foods gluten-free.

This is starting, but just barely. I really think some companies need to experience celiac disease first hand before they take it seriously enough to do something as massive as add a new line of gluten-free products. That’s what seemed to happen with Betty Crocker. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier this month, Dena Larson, marketing manager for the baking products division of General Mills said,

“…the company was spurred to create gluten-free products because several employees either had gluten intolerance or had relatives who did. What struck the staff, she said, was that gluten-sensitive people were excluded from the ‘sweet moments of life – family moments sharing a cake, being able to reward your son with a cookie when he gets off the bus. Those are the things we take for granted, but it’s emotional to have those things taken away from you.’” Las Vegas Review-Journal

Doctors testing for celiac and/or Mass Testing.

I really don’t know if this a “what comes first, the chicken or the egg” scenario. Would the increase in people with celiac disease be because of the doctors testing for it more? Or would the doctors test for it more because it seems like a lot of people have it? Either way mass testing would be ideal.

Gluten-free considered the 9th “Allergen” for FALCPA.

We all know gluten isn’t a top “allergen”. And in the case of celiac disease people who have celiac aren’t technically “allergic” to gluten. We can’t tolerate gluten, it’s toxic to our systems, but it’s not an allergy. Either way, the government recognizes the severity of the issue and puts gluten on the list. Thus, making gluten mandatory in the labeling of food products (not voluntary like it’s proposed to be now).

Domino Effect in overall health and health care.

Can you imagine how many extra doctor’s visits WOULDN’T have happened if celiac would have been your first diagnosis?

Or how many medicines you WOULDN’T have taken or spent money on if celiac had been your first diagnosis…

Or how many happy memories you would have if you hadn’t been in the “celiac fog” for umpteen years…

Or how many health repercussions you currently deal with that you WOULDN’T have had to, if celiac disease would have been your first diagnosis…

This one for me is a biggie. If all Americans who have celiac disease were diagnosed, just think of how much healthier we would be? There would likely be no celiac-induced osteoporosis, cancer, infertility, growth issues, teeth issues, and more. That’s billions of dollars in treatments, doctor’s visits, medications saved – just like that.

Will this post will ever end up being more than fiction…or “fantasia”? Only time will tell.  But thanks for listening.

You can add to this conversation.  Do you have another idea? Feel free to comment about it in the area below.

*Source: University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center

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2 Responses to “An America Where All Celiacs are Diagnosed: Can You Imagine?”

  1. Fantastic post! I look forward to this future as well and want to make help it happen.

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