Alice Bast, founder and president of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, was diagnosed with celiac disease in the early 1990s. While the treatment, a completely gluten-free diet, has not changed since then, the gluten-free market has. Sales of gluten-free foods and drinks reached $4.2 billion in 2012.
An estimated 3 million people have the disease and 18 million more have a sensitivity to gluten. The number of cases continues to rise and some doctors think this is because of the processed foods that we eat or because of the hybridization that changes the makeup of some wheat.
“There’s no doubt there’s an increase in celiac disease,” said Anthony DiMarino, Jr., MD, director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Jefferson and director of the Jefferson Celiac Center in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s real.”
Twenty years ago, nobody had even heard of celiac disease. Today, there are new gluten-free products and companies every week.
Read: “Celiac power: It’s much more than a trendy new diet” for more information.
And check out Alice Bast’s story of confronting celiac disease and fertility concerns from our free e-mail newsletter Keep In Touch with Jefferson. Each issue of Keep in Touch contains patient stories like Alice’s, updates about innovative programs available at Jefferson, health tips, recipes and notifications of events and free health screenings available to you. It’s a great way to take charge of your health, sign up today!