Message from the Minister of Health - Celiac Disease Awareness Month

Statement

One of the most common chronic gastrointestinal disorders, celiac disease, affects some 300,000 Canadians, which is nearly one percent of the population. Every May, we recognize Celiac Disease Awareness Month to remind us of the daily challenges faced by Canadians with this disease and consider how we can better support them.

Celiac disease can develop at any age and symptoms - caused by the body's reaction to gluten - can vary greatly. The only effective way to treat it is through a lifelong gluten-free diet. An inherited disorder, you should see your healthcare professional to get tested for celiac disease if someone in your family has it and you experience symptoms. Health Canada is committed to helping Canadians with celiac disease stay healthy and identify safe foods by providing information on gluten on the labels of pre-packaged foods.

In recent years, Canadians' awareness of celiac disease has increased tremendously, thanks in large part to organizations such as the Canadian Celiac Association and the Fondation québecoise de la maladie coeliaque (in French only). More people than ever before are being diagnosed and treated early, which can allow damaged tissue to heal and reduce the risk of many typical long-term effects.

This May, I encourage all Canadians to learn more about celiac disease and the simple ways in which they can make life easier for those with it.

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C. M.P.
Minister of Health


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