“National Celiac Disease Awareness Day” is observed annually in the United States on September 13 every year. Created to honor those people affected by celiac disease, the 2018 annual one-day campaign aims to raise awareness about this autoimmune disorder and promote educational initiatives to inform the community about celiac disease and how it affects the people who suffer from this disorder. Celiac disease is a digestive disorder caused by an abnormal immune reaction to eating gluten (protein found in foods made with wheat, barley, rye, and triticale). For people suffering from this autoimmune disorder, the immune response to gluten creates toxins that destroy the villi (tiny finger-like protrusions inside the small intestines). The reaction damages the villi and prevents absorption of nutrients from food causing malnutrition, fatigue, bloating, anemia and other serious complications including permanent intestinal damage. Although, there is no specific cure for celiac disease, following a strict gluten-free diet along with consumption of vitamin and mineral supplements and other medications can help better manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing. For correct clinical documentation of this auto-immune disorder, physicians can consider medical coding outsourcing services.

National Celiac Disease Awareness Day

Also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy/ nontropical sprue, this condition occurs from an interaction between genes, eating foods with gluten and other environmental factors. In addition, gastrointestinal infections and infant feeding practices can also contribute to the same. Reports suggest that about 3 million Americans are diagnosed with celiac disease. According to the University of Chicago Medical Center, people have about 1 in 22 chance of developing celiac disease if their parent or sibling has the condition. In addition, people who suffer from other autoimmune diseases and certain genetic disorders like lupus, Type 2 diabetes, intestinal cancer, Addison’s disease, autoimmune liver disease or intestinal lymphoma have higher risk of suffering from gluten-sensitive enteropathy.

Generally, celiac disease symptoms involve the intestine and digestive system, but they can affect other parts of the body as well. The signs and symptoms can vary greatly and are quite different for children and adults. The most common signs include diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal pain/bloating, nausea, constipation, vomiting, irritability, swollen belly and poor appetite. Diagnosis of celiac disease begins with a detailed physical examination and analysis of previous medical history. Researchers estimate that only 20 percent of people with celiac disease may receive a diagnosis. As people with this auto-immune disorder have high levels of antibodies, physicians may conduct various common blood tests like – serology tests, complete blood count (CBC), liver function tests, genetic tests, cholesterol test, alkaline phosphatase level test and serum albumin test to accurately diagnose the condition. If the results of these tests indicate celiac disease, physicians may conduct an endoscopy to view the small intestine and to take a small tissue sample (biopsy) to analyze the extent of damage to the villi.

Treatment for celiac disease involves making diet modifications by permanently removing gluten from the patient’s diet as this allows the intestinal villi to heal and begin absorbing nutrients properly. Symptoms like inflammation in the small intestine generally begin to reduce (usually within several weeks), after the patients start avoiding gluten from their diet. Complete healing and re-growth of the villi may take several months to several years. In addition, physicians may prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements and other medications (like steroids) to manage nutritional deficiencies and control intestinal inflammation.

Gastroenterologists treating Celiac disease patients are reimbursed for their services. The diagnosis tests and other procedures must be carefully documented using the appropriate medical codes. Medical billing and coding services offered by experienced providers can assist physicians in using the right ICD-10 codes for their medical billing process. ICD-10 Diagnosis Code for Celiac disease –

  • K90.0 – Celiac Disease

This code is applicable to celiac disease with steatorrhea; celiac gluten-sensitive enteropathy; non-tropical sprue.

“National Celiac Disease Awareness Day” was first officially observed in the year 2010 in order to commemorate the birth of Dr. Samuel Gee – a leader in celiac disease research. Dr. Samuel Gee – who identified a link between celiac disease and diet, was born on Sept. 13, 1839 and the one-day campaign is observed on the same date (Gee’s birthday – September 13) in the United States. A Senate resolution calling for the commemoration gained unanimous approval on Aug. 3, 2010. In marking the awareness day, the Senate “recognizes that all people of the United States should become more informed and aware of celiac disease,” the resolution stated.

Dr. Samuel Gee was the first physician and pediatrician who published a complete modern-day description of celiac disease and to state that the only treatment is diet. The main goal behind this campaign is to spread information about celiac disease and generate widespread public awareness about the importance of a gluten-free diet for people with gluten sensitivity. You can participate in this campaign by sharing advertisements via different social media platforms and by spreading the word out there to as many people as possible.

Join “National Celiac Disease Awareness Day” celebration on September 13. Make serious efforts to generate awareness about this auto-immune disorder and educate people to follow a gluten-free diet to better manage this condition.