Senator Parker Proclaims May as Celiac Disease Awareness Month
Senator Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) honored groups and individuals dedicated to increasing awareness of Celiac Disease, an inherited, autoimmune disease that hinders the body’s ability to absorb nutrients properly. In recognition of the seriousness of this disease and the efforts of those dedicated to fighting it, Senator Parker passed a resolution proclaiming May as Celiac Awareness Month in New York State.
Celiac Disease causes damage to the lining of the small intestine from eating gluten and other proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and possibly oats. The exact cause is unknown; however, those with a family member with Celiac Disease are at greater risk for developing the disease.
The disorder is most common in those of European ancestry and women are affected more commonly than men. More than two million people in the United States, or about 1 in 133 people have the disease. In New York State, approximately 150,000 people suffer from Celiac Disease.
“No treatment can cure Celiac Disease. However, you can effectively manage Celiac Disease through changing your diet,” Senator Parker said. “Gluten is found in bread, pasta, bagels, pizza and many other popular foods but can also be found in medicines, vitamins and lip balm. People with Celiac Disease may have no symptoms but can still develop complications of the disease over time. Raising awareness among medical professionals and the public could save lives.”
There are numerous diseases and conditions associated with Celiac Disease including:
· Autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus
· Certain types of intestinal cancer
· Dermatitis herpetiformis
· Down syndrome
· Lactose intolerance
· Miscarriage or unexplained infertility
· Neurological conditions
· Osteoporosis or osteopenia
· Thyroid disease
· Type 1 diabetes
“Another characteristic of Celiac Disease is that it is often misdiagnosed, or only diagnosed after years of suffering, missed work, and expensive diagnostic testing-and ineffective treatment. Consequently, raising awareness among medical professionals and the public about Celiac Disease could save the State of New York hundreds of millions of dollars otherwise lost to unnecessary or ineffective medical treatments, or in lost work productivity,” said Senator Parker.
“Experts in the field of Celiac Disease tell us that one percent of the population worldwide has Celiac Disease. Sadly, 97% of those individuals go undiagnosed for years due to a lack of information and awareness,” said Senator William Stachowski (D-Buffalo). “Immediate relief for those individuals is as simple as not eating certain foods, but these foods, like wheat, are so common it’s hard to avoid them. Once more people learn about the disease through our awareness raising efforts, our next step will be to make New York State a place where people can easily find gluten-free foods and products to make living with the disease easier. I am pleased to see so many of our State’s restaurants and businesses stepping up to provide gluten free products for suffers, and make living with the disease easier. I will do what I can to support their ongoing efforts, and to find ways to lower the costs borne by New Yorkers, New York businesses, and by the State's health care system.”
Senator Parker has sponsored two bills that would raise awareness of this debilitating disease. The first (S.5751A) would create a statewide education program within the Department of Health to promote awareness and train health care professionals concerning the causes and consequences of Celiac Disease.
The second bill, (S.7460) would increase the safety to those with food allergies by requiring every cafeteria owned, leased or operated by the state to post all information regarding the gluten content of foods being served.
Groups recognized by Senator Parker for their work in helping to raise awareness of Celiac Disease and ameliorate the suffering of New Yorkers with this disease include:
-The Greater New York City Celiac Support Group
-The New York Restaurant Association,
-The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University
-Sherry Lynn's Gluten Free Restaurant
-The Celiac Disease Foundation
-The Celiac Disease Resource, Inc.
“This proclamation is a giant step in the journey to increase awareness of this highly under diagnosed and untreated disease,” said Daria Spiak, Vice President of The Celiac Disease Resource, Inc. (www.celiacresource.org). “We thank Senator Parker and all who helped in getting this proclamation to fruition.”
"Celiac Disease is the #1 disease you've never heard of,” said Elaine Monarch, Founder and Executive Director of the Celiac Disease Foundation (www.celiac.org). “We applaud Senator Parker's efforts to help us raise awareness of this vastly under-diagnosed disease with his Resolution J.4813 designating May as Celiac Disease Awareness Month in the state of New York. The Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) thanks you Senator Parker for your advocacy, dedication and passion that will make a difference in the lives of people with Celiac Disease and those yet to be diagnosed."
“I want to thank Senator Parker and the New York State Senate for recognizing Celiac disease and the many individuals whose lives have been changed by adopting a gluten free diet,” said Sherry Birch, Owner of Sherry Lynn’s Gluten Free Restaurant and Bakery, Latham, N.Y. “We believe that Celiac awareness will be enhanced with the introduction of this resolution. Beyond any doubt, it will help more New Yorkers to cultivate the lifestyle necessary to reduce the chronic symptoms and complications of this largely under-diagnosed ailment.”
“We at Outback Steakhouse are proud to support Celiac disease awareness and the Celiac Disease Resource Inc. in their efforts to raise awareness,” said Bruce Anderson, Managing Partner, Outback Steakhouse #3351 – Albany, NY. “We are thankful for all our loyal patrons and happy to provide them with safe dining options.”