|NIH Launches Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign for Health
Care Providers and Public
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced the launch of a campaign
to heighten awareness of celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that interferes
with the absorption of nutrients from food. The campaign stems from consensus
recommendations of an independent panel of experts convened by the NIH to assess
current diagnosis, treatment, and management of the disease.
“We now know that celiac disease is more prevalent that previously thought — affecting
nearly 1 percent of the U.S. population — and remains under-diagnosed,” said Griffin
P. Rodgers, M.D., acting director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive
and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the NIH institute leading the effort. “Through the
campaign, we hope to increase physician awareness of the disease, resulting in
earlier diagnosis and better outcomes for celiac patients.”
Developed by the NIDDK, with coordination among the professional and voluntary
organizations working on celiac disease, the campaign offers materials and resources
for health professionals and the public about the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment,
and management of celiac disease. The campaign offers fact sheets, booklets,
practice tools for health professionals, NIH research information, and resources
from professional and voluntary organizations that focus on celiac disease.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune response to gluten, a protein found in wheat,
rye, and barley. Symptoms of celiac disease range from gas, diarrhea, and abdominal
pain, to delayed growth, certain skin rashes, infertility, and osteoporosis.
Treatment for celiac disease is adherence to a gluten-free diet.
“One of the challenges with celiac disease is the vast array of symptoms associated
with the disease,” said Stephen P. James, M.D., director of the Division of Digestive
Diseases and Nutrition (DDN) at the NIDDK. “We are hoping to educate health professionals
and the public that celiac disease is not only a gastrointestinal disease.”
For more information about the campaign or to download any of the campaign materials,
visit www.celiac.nih.gov. For more information about the consensus development
panel’s recommendations, visit http://consensus.nih.gov/2004/2004CeliacDisease118html.htm.
The NIDDK, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), conducts and
supports research on diabetes; endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive
diseases, nutrition, and obesity; and kidney, urologic and hematologic diseases.
Spanning the full spectrum of medicine and afflicting people of all ages and
ethnic groups, these diseases encompass some of the most common, severe, and
disabling conditions affecting Americans.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research
Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal
agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical
research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common
and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.