What is Celiac Disease? Is it contagious? Who gets it? How is it treated? Is there a cure? and other questions that arise when you hear the word “disease“. While Gluten Free has become the “fad of the moment” celiac disease a very real problem that does not allow for choice of eating habits. Today we discuss what celiac is and what food means to an individual with this disorder.
6 Things Every Celiac Wants You To Know!
Okay, let’s get something straight: we love this whole GF (gluten free) fad. It means that there are tons more prepared food choices available and more people are aware. It also means people don’t understand. So here is a short list of things you need to know for “regular” people.
- Celiac is an autoimmune disease which causes the body to attack itself when gluten containing foods (such as wheat, barely and rye) are consumed.
- We are NOT trying to be fussy. That tiny crumb WILL make us sick. Some people can tolerate a few crumbs (externally but inside the body is under attack) others may need emergency care; in reality most of us are somewhere in between.
- We do not look sick. You cannot tell by looking at us that we have celiac disease. While some people may appear malnourished before diagnosis others show no external symptoms at all.
- Symptoms may include: the inability to absorb particular nutrients such as iron or B12, digestive track disorders, and other issues associated with malnourishment. Brittle bones, hair and nails are often a complaint as well. Skin may be dry and prone to rashes and eczema. Malnourishment is not the only concern. Celiac disease can affect many other systems of the body that affect quality of life.
- Some people experience mental health issues, neurological disorders, ranging in severity from fatigue, depression and headaches to brain lesions and bipolar disorders.
- We are sensitive to the fact that we sound “high maintenance” however we are insisting on GF food or completely refusing to eat because we are terrified of getting sick in front of you! Social anxiety is a very real issue as most social setting include food. So if you are hosting a party please let us bring something. Or at least don’t take it personally that we are not eating your food; it’s not a choice.
We are still working hard to understand this complicated disease. The one thing we know for sure is that the only treatment option is a 100% gluten free diet. Awareness is key!
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