If there were a disease out there that could lay claim to being the "world’s greatest," which one would win?
What would be the criteria?
It's certainly an odd prize, but worth considering.
My vote would be for the one that taught us, as a human race, the most valuable lesson on how we might be able to easily ameliorate and prevent future diseases of all sorts.
In this context, my vote goes to celiac disease!
Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance, is an autoimmune disorder in which people react to gluten, a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat, oats, and barley.
For those with celiac disease, eating gluten will cause damage to the lining of the small intestine to the point where the body will not be able to absorb the nutrients it needs. The only known solution for celiac disease is maintaining a gluten-free diet so that the small intestine can heal.
And that is why celiac is a "great" and "valuable" disease, as it alerts people to the fact that certain diseases can be ameliorated or even cured by lifestyle and diet changes.
For the first time, there is no drug, no external cure. The cure for celiac has to come from within, through discipline and conscious eating.
Now, just think about that thought process from a doctor’s point of view. For a doctor to have to tell patients that the only solution to their disease is a dietary shift, to what degree does that interaction open the door toward awareness of integrative or functional approaches to health?
Given that the huge health epidemics we face are all somewhat diet-related (such as obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, etc.), what will celiac’s true long term value be?
Do you have celiac?
Do you agree? What has it taught you?