Friday, May 13, 2011

May is National Celiac Awareness Month

One in 133 people are affected with celiac disease, an autoimmune digestive disease. For people with celiac disease, or gluten sensitive enteropathy, eating foods with gluten - a protein found in wheat, rye and barley - damages the intestinal lining. Once damaged, the intestine cannot absorb the many nutrients supplied by food. The risk of malnutrition in people who have celiac disease is high.

The symptoms some with celiac disease, or gluten sensitive enteropathy, may experience include weakness, abdominal cramping, lack of appetitite, or diarrhea. Celiac disease may be inherited or triggered by an event. The care and treatment for people with this disease is very individual and includes eating a gluten-free diet and working with a registered dietitian and physician to find the best solutions for living life to the fullest.

More and more gluten-free breads, baked goods, coatings, and other products are available in mainstream grocery stores as well as specialty stores. There are also support groups available online and at some Maine hospitals.

Some people are “gluten sensitive” but don’t have celiac disease. These individuals experience milder and more subtle symptoms and do not test positive for celiac disease. These individuals may also benefit from eating a well-balanced low gluten diet and working on a personal plan with their registered dietitian and physician to live their life to the fullest.

To learn more, contact your local hospital or go to for more information.


Plarzmo said...

Do people who are 100% disabled, who are also diagnosed with Celiac Disease & receive Food Stamps get an increased amount of food stamps? Or a higher amount monthly? The cost of maintaining a gluten free diet is so much higher than the average. In order to be healthy or at least not become ill, a person with celiac disease needs this special diet as a treatment. I posted an idea on the site about this but it was deleted? The only thing I could think is that there already is some sort of help for people in this situation? If you know please! contact me.

Dickie Wallace said...

Did MECDC ever reply to Plarzmo's question? If so, it would have been nice had the reply been made here, on this forum, to the rest of the public.

Maine CDC Communications said...

Sorry about that -- it looks like we didn't get the original comment notification. Food Stamps are administered by another office of DHHS, so we'll need to research this and get back to you.

Maine CDC Communications said...

The Food Supplement Program Manager is responding directly to Plarzmo, in case there are follow up questions.

To answer the original question: the benefit is based on income, allowable expenses, and number of people in the home weighed against benefit standards established by USDA. Celiac diagnosis does not have an impact on the benefit amount.