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What is Celiac Disease by Tomasina Floresvega

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Bread. Cereal. Pasta. Beer. Cake. What if someone told you, you should not eat or drink any of these products after 25 years of having them in your life? These are just a few of the items a person shouldn’t have if diagnosed with Celiac Disease (CD). Celiac disease is a very common digestive disease that many have, but don’t even know it. It is when your body doesn’t respond well to gluten and can cause damage to the lining of your small intestines.

If you do have Celiac Disease, you may not be getting the nutrients your body needs. As a result, this can lead to other health problems further down the road. Celiac can lead to Dysentery, Lupus, Cancer of the intestine, Osteoporosis, miscarriage, seizures, Thyroid Disease, Type 1 Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjögren’s Syndrome, malabsorption, Anemia, birth defects, and growth problems in children—if you don’t take the right precautions.

Once you have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, you will want to go on a gluten-free diet. This really is the only treatment for CD, but it will be a life-long treatment. Making a change in one’s diet is difficult, but if it means making your way to a healthier, happier you, then wouldn’t you take the high road rather than the alternative? Many who change their diet usually see great results and feel ten times better than before. Instead of looking at it as a negative, there can be an advantage to it. Taking all that gluten out of your diet might help increase your chances of leading to the diseases and/or syndromes I mentioned earlier.

Some gastroenterologists tend to misdiagnose Celiac Disease for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and/or confuse it with food allergies. This is not a disease to take lightly, especially since there is no cure. I would suggest getting a second opinion if someone were to be diagnosed with IBS, even it is another gastroenterologist. I recommend writing a list of your symptoms that have been occurring up until your doctor visit. This way, the more you tell a doctor, the better they can diagnose your issue. Also, always remember to not change anything within your diet. This can affect your test results into being insufficient. Maybe if you feel unsure of what your doctor is telling you on your first visit, imply to them you want tests done. Most of these doctors perform an endoscopy, which takes a sample of your small intestines.

Celiac Disease is not only misdiagnosed as IBS or food allergies, but may be also confused with Crohn’s Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). Irritable Bowel Disease is then linked to Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. These diseases are all related to gastrointestinal problems. Some people don’t show any signs of CD symptoms and won’t show any inflammation from gluten till a later age. Symptoms of Celiac can vary from abdominal cramping, diarrhea, bloating, nausea, weight loss, and severe skin rash. IBS, Crohn’s disease, and UC have pretty similar symptoms as well.

This disease can be very difficult to live with, not only as an adult but as a child, too. It is diagnosed at any age. As a parent, it can be very tough to deal with a child who has a CD. Your child needs to be able to take in all the nutrients they need, particularly with gluten. Without these nutrients a child will not grow properly, leading to malnourishment. This can be very rough for a child to be told what you can or cannot digest. They have no choice, but to listen to their doctor and parents though.

In addition, parents worry about how they are going to deal with situations of how their child will be able to handle it throughout the day, especially at school. For instance, kids are not being tempted by gluten products other kids will have around them. I heard from my sister how many grade school children in the state of Texas are taken to court due to several absences. Many parents have a difficult time trying to explain or convince a school about their child’s medical issues. A child can be absent from school several times throughout the year due to the symptoms. It would be hard to convince school staff of each excuse of stomach pains without having it looked into further. Parents have to then get their doctors involved and help them prove their medical condition, which a doctor won’t do unless further proof of tests are done.

So the next time you have stomach pains from a bowl of pasta or an ice-cold beer, don’t just assume it is nothing. Don’t assume your child is trying to get out of school or chores, either. It is better to be safe than sorry. Book an appointment with your doctor right away. You or your child could have Celiac Disease and need to simply change your diet. It could save someone’s life.


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