Gut-Wrenching Advice: Don't Wait Until the Celiac Damage is Done

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First at-home blood test for celiac disease now available in Canada from 2G Pharma Inc.

Most adults are nearing midlife before they find out with certainty they have celiac disease, a lifelong genetically-based disorder. Many people go through life thinking their migraines and gut aches are stress-related.

Celiac disease occurs when gluten -- a protein found in wheat, rye and barley -- triggers an abnormal response that damages the lining of the small intestine, interfering with the body's absorption of nutrients. The disease affects people differently. For some, the symptoms might be diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain, while for others it might be mouth ulcers, irritability or depression. In fact, irritability is one of the most common symptoms in children.

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 blood test gives a high degree of certainty that a person is either developing celiac disease or already has celiac disease, one still needs to see a doctor for a confirmation.

According to a 2007 survey of the Canadian Celiac Association's more than 5000 members, the average time it took to get diagnosed was 12 years. Many reported consulting with three or more doctors before their diagnosis was confirmed. And while most people think celiac disease is a children's disease, more than two-thirds of those diagnosed are adults.

"The frequently late diagnosis for celiac disease has painful ramifications for those who have suffered needlessly for all those years" says Janet Monk, co-founder of 2G Pharma Inc., marketers of the Biocard Celiac Test Kit. "A person with celiac disease may have no symptoms, so the longer a person goes undiagnosed and untreated, the greater the chance of developing malnutrition and other complications. Delays in diagnosis also add significant costs to our health care system."

Left untreated, celiac disease increases the risk of malnutrition, osteoporosis (because of poor absorption of calcium and vitamin D), infertility, certain digestive cancers and other conditions such as Type 1 diabetes and thyroid disease.

"Until now, tests to assess gluten intolerance have been hard to access," said Monk. "There have always been lab blood tests and the biopsy test, which is considered the most definitive. However, testing takes a long time to arrange and many doctors haven't really been supportive of testing patients that complain about abdominal problems. The Biocard screening test shortens the waiting around period--the results are quick and accurate and if positive, gives you the assurance to seek professional treatment faster."

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 awareness month in Canada.

About 2G Pharma Inc.:
Founded by Karina Nelimarkka and Janet Monk, 2G Pharma Inc. markets the unique, patient-friendly celiac 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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