FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY IS CELIAC DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH
ATLANTIC GASTROENTEROLOGY ASSOCIATES OPENS
CELIAC DIAGNOSTIC CENTER
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. – The region’s first Celiac Diagnostic Center,
designed to provide advanced diagnostic approaches for patients with digestive
symptoms that might suggest celiac disease has opened at Atlantic Gastroenterology
“The timing for the opening of the center couldn’t be better or more
appropriate, because May is Celiac Awareness Month,” said AGA founder Barry
Kaufman, M.D., F.A.C.G., C.N.S.P. “It’s important to raise awareness about celiac
One of the most common gastrointestinal disorders, celiac is currently also
one of the most under diagnosed. It’s a condition that affects at least 3 million
Americans, or about one in 110 people. Yet only one in about 4,700 to 5,000 is
A slice of wheat bread might be a healthy snack for most people. But for
those with celiac disease, it’s a toxic substance. That’s because bread contains
gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley that stimulates damage in the
gastrointestinal tract if you have celiac disease.
“Many people don’t realize that their stomach aches, diarrhea or bloating can
indicate celiac disease,” Kaufman said. “Diagnosis is obviously the key to reducing
symptoms and preventing complications from the disease.
“Gluten actually injures the villi, the tiny hair-like projections in the small
intestine that promote digestion and then absorb nutrients from food,” Kaufman
said. “In the long term, this damage leads to chronic and possibly life threatening
conditions including anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, some neurologic conditions
and associated cancers.”
The new Celiac Diagnostic Center at AGA includes an onsite pathology lab for
special processing of tissues to detect inflammation associated with celiac disease.
While there is no cure for celiac disease, it can be managed and controlled
through lifestyle changes. A lifelong gluten-free diet is the standard treatment. In
addition to avoiding wheat, rye and barley, celiac patients should be on the watch for
processed foods that may contain hidden gluten. These include ketchup, candy bars,
canned soup and ice cream.
Are you at risk?
The exact cause of celiac disease is unknown. However, there are certain risk factors
that may increase chances of contracting the disease. These include:
Being of northern European ancestry
First degree relative with celiac disease
Type I diabetes
Autoimmune thyroid disease
Severe stress from childbirth to physical injury or surgery also may activate celiac
Watch for these warning signs
Some people with celiac disease are asymptomatic, or have no symptoms. The most
common symptoms associated with celiac disease include:
Nausea and vomiting
Unexplained weight loss
Children also may be slow to grow. If you or a loved one experience any of these
symptoms, consult your doctor.
The Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) southern New Jersey Chapter #9 support
group meets monthly at Virtua/West Jersey Hospital in Voorhees. They also offer a
children’s group. Many local restaurants offer gluten-free menu items.
If anyone is interested in participating in a local support group call The Celiac
Diagnostic Center at 609.407.1220 ext. 1125.
About Atlantic Gastroenterology Associates
Atlantic Gastroenterology Associates is the largest and most sophisticated
gastrointestinal treatment center in the southern New Jersey region. Established in
1978, AGA is a leader in the field of digestive disease diagnosis and treatment.