THUNDER BAY – Bill Mauro has brought forward a Private Members Motion on Celiac Disease. The Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP states, “Celiac disease affects nearly 1 percent of Canadians. If the disease goes undetected, it can have very serious health consequences”.
“Early diagnosis and treatment increases the chances that the damaged tissue will heal–and it reduces the possibility of long-term complications,” adds Mauro. “That’s why expanding OHIP coverage of these tests is so important. By increasing access to these tests we can improve the likelihood that people living with celiac disease will be identified and treated.”
Celiac disease affects Canadians
When someone has celiac disease, their immune system reacts negatively to gluten in the diet, causing damage to their small bowel and reducing their ability to absorb nutrients. Over time, this can lead to vitamin deficiencies that deprive the person’s brain, peripheral nervous system, bones, liver and various organs of vital nourishment.
Celiac disease is associated with type 1 diabetes, down syndrome, thyroiditis, arthritis, ataxia, depression, neuropathy, infertility and osteoporosis, as well as other serious health conditions.
While a small intestinal mucosal biopsy remains the “gold standard” for confirming the diagnosis, the disease must first be identified. For the initial detection of celiac disease, a simple and accurate serologic test can be used, including the IgA-human tissue transglutaminase test and the endomysial antibody test. Expanding OHIP coverage of these serological tests is the purpose of Mauro’s Private Member’s Bill.
Once the disease is identified, in most cases, celiac disease can be effectively managed through a gluten-free diet.
“Celiac disease affects nearly 1 percent of Canadians. If the disease goes undetected, it can have very serious health consequences. Early diagnosis and treatment increases the chances that the damaged tissue will heal–and it reduces the possibility of long-term complications. That’s why expanding OHIP coverage of these tests is so important. By increasing access to these tests we can improve the likelihood that people living with celiac disease will be identified and treated,” said MPP Bill Mauro.
Mauro stated “Several years ago, I introduced similar Private Member’s Legislation to expand access to PSA testing for prostate cancer. That bill had an impact. The government responded by increasing OHIP coverage of PSA tests. I hope this Private Member’s Bill will achieve something similar for people who are suffering celiac disease.”
“Extending OHIP coverage for serological tests for celiac disease is very important. The Canadian Celiac Association’s Thunder Bay chapter has been calling for these changes. I want to thank Bill Mauro for bringing this issue forward,” Deb Paris, President, Canadian Celiac Association, Thunder Bay and District Chapter.
“May is the Celiac Awareness Month and we are delighted to have the dedicated support of Mr. Bill Mauro’s private members bill to change government policy on not funding celiac disease blood testing in Ontario, the only province in Canada not to do so. More than 100,000 Ontarians, ninety percent of whom remain undiagnosed, suffer from the disease unnecessarily, and blood testing is the essential first step in their avoiding future health complications and ensuring better quality of life,” Peter D. Taylor, Executive Director, Canadian Celiac Association.
Graphic on Symptoms of Celiac Disease courtesy of GlutenDude.com