BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Each year, September 13 is marked as National Celiac Disease Awareness Day. 

The purpose of the day is to raise awareness and garner support for individuals who’ve been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease. 

Experts estimate that about two million people in the U.S. have celiac. 

The illness is defined as an immune reaction to eating gluten (gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye) that triggers an immune response in your small intestine.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “over time, this reaction damages your small intestine’s lining and prevents it from absorbing some nutrients. The intestinal damage often causes diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating and anemia, and can lead to serious complications.” 

Dr. Samuel Gee was the UK-based physician who is credited as the first doctor to publish a complete description of celiac disease back in 1888. 

Seeing as Gee’s birthday was September 13, the U.S. senate in 2005 agreed to mark the 13th of September as National Celiac Disease Awareness Day.

On the special day, participants are encouraged to either share their tips and resources related to celiac or serve a gluten-free meal for loved ones who have the disease. 

Individuals in Baton Rouge who suffer from celiac can join support groups such as:

Celiacs of Baton Rouge

3387 Madeira Drive

Baton Rouge, LA 70810

Tel: (225) 766-8872

E-mail: celiacsbr@aol.com

Baton Rouge Area Celiacs

Tel: (225) 571-7980

E-mail: pelinc1@bellsouth.net