The pilot announced last November by the Canadian Celiac Association has been officially extended until March 31, 2023 and allows Ontario residents to be screened for celiac disease among other tests at an approved community-based laboratory, at no cost to the patient.
Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, farina, bulgur and rye. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. The small intestine is responsible for absorbing nutrients from food into the bloodstream for the body to use. When the lining is damaged, so is its ability to absorb these nutrients.
Among the possible complications of untreated celiac disease is the inability to develop optimal bone mass and the loss of bone, both of which increase the risk of osteoporosis. When osteoporosis results from a condition, from the treatment of another condition or from having another disease like celiac disease it’s called secondary osteoporosis.
Celiac disease can reduce the absorption of nutrients from the intestine including dietary calcium and vitamin D. The result is lower levels of calcium and vitamin D, which can increase bone loss leading to fractures.
After 10 years of advocacy work by staff and volunteers at the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA), they have shared that a new pilot program by the Ontario Ministry of Health will cover the cost of initial blood screening to help diagnose celiac disease (CD) in Ontario at any approved community-based laboratory until March 31, 2023.
If you live in Ontario and you think you or a family member have celiac disease and have not yet been formally diagnosed, you must be consuming gluten in order for the test to be accurate.