Celiac Awareness Month: 25 Important Facts Not Fads

May is Celiac Awareness Month. My mission is to educate others in the true meaning of Celiac Disease.

This is a disease, not a fad. I’ve put together 25 important facts about Celiac Disease. Help spread the word. Together we can bring a greater awareness and understanding of Celiac Disease.

Hopefully there will be a future when we’re not asked, “Can’t you just take the croutons off?

Happy Celiac Awareness Month to my wonderful gluten-free family near and far (yes, I mean you!).

  • 1Celiac Disease is NOT a food allergy, it is an autoimmune disease. Celiac Disease can never be “outgrown”. 
  • 2Celiac Disease is one of the most common, yet most under-diagnosed autoimmune conditions in this country today. 
  • 3An estimated 2.5 to 3 million people have Celiac Disease. 
  • 4A staggering 85% of the 2.5 to 3 million people with Celiac Disease are undiagnosed.
  • 5People who have Celiac Disease are permanently intolerant to gluten, a protein found in all forms of wheat, rye, and barley. 
  • 6Celiac Disease is a genetic, autoimmune disease damaging the small intestine & interfering with nutrient absorption.
  • 7There are NO pharmaceutical cures for celiac disease.
  • 8Celiac Disease symptoms can include diarrhea, fatty – mucus stool, brain fog, intestinal pain and bloating, migraines, joint pain, anemia, canker sores, constipation, and depression.
  • 9“Silent” Celiac Disease shows no symptoms such as mentioned above.
  • 10For many women, unexplained infertility is a sign of undiagnosed Celiac Disease. 
  • 11Celiac Disease is a hereditary condition, which means it is passed through families. 
  • 12If you have tested positive for Celiac Disease, your family members are at risk for Celiac Disease. It is critical that all first and second-degree relatives get tested for Celiac Disease, even if they are not experiencing any symptoms.
  • 131st degree relatives of someone with Celiac Disease are: parents, brothers and sisters, or the children of people who have been diagnosed.
  • 142nd degree relatives of someone with Celiac Disease are: grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces or half-siblings. 
  • 15About 20 to 25% with Celiac Disease break out in an intensely itchy and painful rash known as Dermatitis Herpetiformis
  • 16Dermatitis Herpetiformis is the visible result of the body’s abnormal immunological reaction to gluten.
  • 17Common belief is gluten is found only in food. The protein is actually used in many products including medication, vitamins, and cosmetics.
  • 18Gluten is essentially toxic to people with Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. 
  • 19Continuing to consume gluten post-diagnosis puts one at risk for long-term damage to the small intestines. 
  • 20Children are most likely to have the best gluten-free results when the entire family embraces the diet. 
  • 21Depending on a child’s age, peer pressure can lead to “cheating”, so it’s important to work with a healthcare professional to ensure success.
  • 22For some patients with Celiac Disease, starting a gluten-free diet can improve symptoms in as little as two weeks. For others it can take close to a year. 
  • 23For those who do not have Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, a gluten-free diet does not benefit and can be harmful.
  • 24Buckwheat, contrary to its name, is not actually wheat and does not contain gluten.
  • 25The Gluten-Free Community is amazing! Don’t be afraid to lean on others who “get it” here at Hold the Gluten, via chat forums, and local support groups. Want to know my gluten-free journey? Check it out here.


Celiac Disease Resources

Beyond Celiac

Celiac Disease Foundation

Center for Celiac Disease and Treatment – Massachusetts General

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Children’s National Health System

Gluten Intolerance Group of North America

National Celiac Association

National Foundation for Celiac Disease Awareness

The Celiac MD

University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center


What’s Your Gluten-Free Story?

How long did it take you to be diagnosed? How has Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity changed your life? 

Share with the Hold the Gluten Community in the comments below!



Maureen Stanley was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2005. Way back before gluten-free was “mainstream“. Maureen created Hold The Gluten blog and podcast in 2008 as a way to connect members of the gluten-free community across the world.

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