Every year, September 13 is observed as National Celiac Disease Awareness Day in the United States. Created by the National Celiac Association (NCA), the one-day campaign is designed to generate widespread awareness about celiac disease, the need for a cure and spur advocacy on behalf of those suffering with the emotional and physical burden of celiac disease. The major goal behind this campaign is to educate, advocate and accelerate research and awareness of celiac disease – an autoimmune disorder caused by a reaction to gluten that affects the small intestine. Also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy/ nontropical sprue, this is a digestive disorder which occurs due to an abnormal immune reaction to gluten (a protein found in foods made with wheat, barley, rye, and triticale). The condition damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing certain nutrients from food thereby causing malnutrition, fatigue, bloating, anemia and other serious complications (including permanent intestinal damage). There is no permanent cure for celiac disease. However, following a gluten-free diet combined with essential vitamins and mineral supplements and other medications can help manage the symptoms in a better manner. For correct clinical documentation of this auto-immune digestive disorder, physicians can consider medical billing outsourcing services.

According to reports, celiac disease affects about 3 million Americans. It is estimated that 1 in 133 people in the United States are affected by this autoimmune disorder. 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 a high risk of suffering from gluten-sensitive enteropathy.

The 2020 campaign aims to highlight the contribution of NCA in early diagnosis as well as providing adequate support to those people who have already been diagnosed with the condition. It also aims to make more people aware of this disease and understand that by eating gluten-free foods they could eliminate their symptoms. Even though celiac disease symptoms involve the intestine and digestive system, they can affect other parts of the body as well. In fact, the signs and symptoms associated with the condition can vary, and can be different for adults and children. Common symptoms of this condition include – weight loss, diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal pain/bloating, nausea, constipation, vomiting, irritability, swollen belly and poor appetite to latent symptoms like isolated nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition.

Celiac disease diagnosis may normally begin with a physical examination and analysis of previous medical history. People with this condition have high levels of antiendomysium (EMA) and anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTGA) antibodies in their body which can be easily detected through blood tests. Common blood tests conducted include – complete blood count (CBC), liver function tests, genetic tests, cholesterol test, alkaline phosphatase level test, serology tests and serum albumin test which help correctly diagnose the condition. If the results of any of these diagnostic tests come positive, physicians may suggest performing an endoscopy or capsule endoscopy to view the small intestine and to take a small tissue sample (biopsy) to analyze the extent of damage to the villi. Incorporating diet modifications by permanently removing gluten from the patient’s diet is the top way to treat celiac disease. Removing gluten allows the intestinal villi to heal and start proper absorption of nutrients. In most general cases, symptoms like inflammation begin to subside (within several weeks) once patients start avoiding gluten from their diet. Complete healing and re-growth of the villi may take several months to several years. Vitamin and mineral supplements and other medications (like steroids) may be prescribed by physicians to better manage nutritional deficiencies and control intestinal inflammation.

Gastroenterologists and other specialists offering treatment for Celiac disease patients are fully 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 help physicians in using the right ICD-10 codes for their medical billing process. ICD-10 code for diagnosing celiac disease is –

  • K90.0 – Celiac Disease (the code is applicable to celiac disease with steatorrhea; celiac gluten-sensitive enteropathy; non-tropical sprue).

First officially observed in the year 2010, the “National Celiac Disease Awareness Day” commemorates the birth of Dr. Samuel Gee – a pediatrician and a leader in celiac disease research who first identified a direct link between celiac disease and diet. It was in the year 1888 that Dr. Samuel Gee – a pediatrician – recognized that the symptoms he was observing were all tied to the diet of his patients. He was the first physician and pediatrician who published a complete modern-day description about celiac disease and to state that the only treatment is diet. In honor of this man and the several lives that he has helped to make better (through awareness and education about this disease) his birthday (September 13), was selected as the yearly celebration for Celiac Awareness Day in the United States. A Senate resolution calling for the commemoration gained unanimous approval on August 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.

The main objective behind this observance is to make more people informed about celiac disease and share the importance of a gluten-free diet for people with gluten sensitivity. People can actively participate in this campaign by sharing advertisements via different social media platforms, attending live sessions (to listen and chat with people who have suffered celiac disease) and listen to stories of celiac disease treatment and cure via several prominent social media platforms.

Get involved in Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign on September 13. Spread information about this auto-immune disorder and educate people to follow a gluten-free diet.