As pointed out recently, May was both Hepatitis and Celiac Awareness Month. Now we’re well beyond May, it’s amazing to look back and consider that…almost no one knew that these issues were supposed to be focused on.
Considering how prominent and serious all versions of Hepatitis and Celiac disease can be, we really have to do more to make people aware of such awareness months.
Consider this: three million Americans have Celiac disease, and yet 83% of those who have it don’t know it. Celiac disease can lead to an increased likelihood of osteoporosis, anaemia, and some kinds of cancer. So, it’s serious, people don’t know they have it, and it can also develop at any age. That sounds like something people should be aware of.
And yet, where was the coverage for it in May?
The same goes for Hepatitis, which comes in three different forms, spreads in different ways, and is always serious, no matter what kind develops.
Once again, where was the information about what Hepatitis is, how people get it, how to protect against it, and what to do if someone develops it?
Yes, it was on Gastro Care LI, which is where I encountered those facts, but more needs to be done to get these stories into the news.
While everyone knows about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a lot of serious diseases (some that are more common and just as serious as breast cancer) don’t get parades, colorful ribbons, commercials, and major fund drives.
We have to do more to get diseases like Hepatitis and Celiac into the news. While you don’t want people to dwell upon such diseases, awareness is key to reducing infections and making sure people get testing and treatment.
It’s perhaps impossible to raise such diseases to the level of breast cancer, which hits women and families particularly hard and has a strong emotional backing, but getting the word out there even a little bit more about other serious diseases would go a long way toward improving everyone’s health.
To start with, we could make the effort next year to make sure everyone at least knows that May is Hepatitis and Celiac disease awareness month. Whether we do it through ribbons, commercials, newspaper ads, or even just a one minute mention in every classroom in the country at the beginning of one school day, it will do a great deal to help public health.
And we can’t stop with just these diseases. Remember, education is one of our best weapons against disease. The more people know about the diseases that are a threat to them, the more they will take the appropriate steps to stay healthy and help others to stay healthy.
This is something we all have to take some responsibility for. So, even if we can’t get a parade or a school announcement next May, make a note on your calendar next year to tell someone about Hepatitis and Celiac disease. You may just save a life doing so.