Don't Suffer Another Day: Canadians Take Home Screening Test for This Gut Disease

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2G Pharma Inc. launches a home-care kit to test for celiac disease, a commonly undiagnosed disease that afflicts more than 300,000 Canadians

Most people don't know they have this life-long heredity disease. Although most people think of this as a children's disease, it can be diagnosed at any age.

The disease is celiac disease. Health officials say one out of 100 Canadians are affected by this condition, which occurs when gluten -- a protein found in wheat, rye and barley -- triggers an abnormal immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine, interfering with the body's absorption of nutrients. Often the condition goes unnoticed because the symptoms are similar to those of other diseases.

Now there is a simple, accurate way to determine if someone is susceptible to celiac disease. For the first time in Canada, Health Canada has approved the Biocard Celiac Test Kit, an at-home test that measures IgA antibodies from a fingertip blood sample.

While this easy, patient-friendly blood test gives a high degree of certainty that a person is either developing celiac disease or already have celiac disease, one still needs to see your doctor for a biopsy confirmation.

"I have a close friend who suffered ten long years with a bleeding stomach before she was finally diagnosed as a celiac." said Karina Nelimarkka, co-founder of 2G Pharma, marketers of the Biocard Celiac Test Kit. "That's sad, and way too long to live not knowing that the real culprit was an intolerance to gluten. Once she finally knew the problem, she changed her diet--and started on the road to recovery. I wish we could have given her the Biocard home care kit years ago. "

Classic celiac symptoms include diarrhea, stomach pain, weight loss and in children, delayed growth. For others, the symptoms are subtler, such as such as mouth ulcers, hair loss, bloating or excess gas. Although these symptoms may go undetected, the damage continues.

The only treatment is a gluten-free diet for life.

Left undetected, celiac disease can lead to malnutrition, osteoporosis (because of poor absorption of calcium and vitamin D), infertility, certain digestive tract cancers and other disorders such as Type 1 diabetes and thyroid disease.

"If you suspect you have an adverse reaction to, the Biocard test kit is only the first step to final confirmation," said Nelimarkka, a long-time health care professional. But at least you can screen yourself quickly and accurately in the comfort of your own home, and the results give you the ammunition to speak to your doctor to get treatment faster."

According to a 2007 survey by the Canadian Celiac Association, the average time it took to get diagnosed for celiac disease was 12 years. Many respondents consulted with three or more doctors before getting their diagnosis.

The test kit is available for Canada and can be purchased online at http://www.celiachometest.com or at London Drugs, Overwaitea, Save on Pharmacy, Rexall Pharma Plus, Jean Coutu, Mayers and other major Canadian retail chains.

October is celiac disease awareness month in Canada.

About 2G Pharma Inc.
Founded by Karina Nelimarkka and Janet Monk, 2G Pharma markets the unique, patient-friendly celiac disease test kit first developed by AniBiotech in Finland. This kit has been redesigned for the Canadian market and is currently the only Health Canada approved point-of-care celiac disease test kit available. Information on celiac disease, the Biocard™ Celiac Test and links to key informational sites can be found at http://www.celiachometest.com.

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Tricia Ryan
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