Health Canada

Health Canada

May 04, 2009 12:30 ET

Health Canada Improves Information Available for Those Suffering From Celiac Disease

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 4, 2009) - Health Canada, along with the Canadian Celiac Association and the Fondation Quebecoise de la Maladie Coeliaque, has published a new pamphlet, titled "Celiac Disease - The Gluten Connection."

This new pamphlet, written for those diagnosed with celiac disease, as well as their friends and family, is intended to provide easy to understand information about celiac disease and the steps that can be taken to manage the disease.

Celiac disease is an inherited medical condition where the surface of the small intestine is damaged by gluten, a group of proteins found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. This damage causes the body to be unable to absorb nutrients such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for good health. Currently, lifelong avoidance of gluten in the diet is the only effective way to manage this disease.

A gluten-free diet can be challenging, since it involves knowing what foods contain gluten, and determining possible hidden sources of gluten in food products and drugs. It also involves a number of lifestyle changes since many commonly eaten foods must be avoided, including pasta, many breakfast cereals and snacks, most breads and other baked goods.

Not everyone who has the gene for celiac disease will develop the disease. However, celiac disease is an illness that can strike Canadians of all ages. Celiac disease has similar symptoms as other common disease like irritable bowel syndrome. It can only be confirmed through a series of tests, including a biopsy. Some of the symptoms include:

- Indigestion, nausea

- Abdominal bloating, gas

- Recurring diarrhea

- Constipation

- Anemia - deficiencies of iron or folate

- Deficiencies of vitamins A, D, E, or K

Celiac Disease affects approximately 1 in every 100-200 people in North America and is considered one of the most common chronic diseases. In Canada, as many as 300,000 Canadians could have this disease and many of them remain undiagnosed.

For more information on celiac disease, please visit:

Government of Canada's Celiac Disease - The Gluten Connection (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/pubs/securit/gluten_conn-lien_gluten-eng.php)

Health Canada's Celiac Disease webpage (www.healthcanada.gc.ca/celiac)

Health Canada's Food Allergies and Intolerances webpage (www.healthcanada.gc.ca/foodallergies)

Canadian Celiac Association (http://www.celiac.ca/)

Fondation Quebecoise de la Maladie Coeliaque (http://www.fqmc.org/)

Egalement disponible en francais

Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Health Canada
    613-957-2983
    or
    Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    613-773-6600
    or
    Public Inquiries:
    613-957-2991
    1-866-225-0709