Battling Celiac Disease

February 20, 2019

Meet my mom! In my last personal post, I mentioned how my mother was battling an assortment of health issues: thoracic outlet syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, and potentially lupus. Growing up, my mother was always my biggest supporter and she is still today. However, it looks a bit differently. Now I’m not always sure you can make it out of the house.

Just this past week we received the news that my mother has Celiac disease and a pretty bad case at that. This came as a shock to both her and I. Just the year prior she had a complete colonoscopy and EGD and was only told about the Barrett’s Esophagus. I’m not 100% sure on the procedures, but I’m pretty sure this could have been found sooner. Instead, this was caught on a routine check up for her Barrett’s esophagus. As her and I try and educate ourselves on the diagnosis, we have come to realize that she does in fact have a large amount of the symptoms: bloating, fatigue, headaches, anemia, nausea, and depression. Since her diagnosis, I have been trying to rack my brain to see if I even learned about Celiac disease in nursing school. I know it is a gluten intolerance but that is mainly from the millennial generation that I live amongst. So I thought I would share my findings.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease of the small bowel characterized by mucosal inflammation, villous atrophy, and crypt hyperplasia. It is a genetic autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten. Celiac disease can be serious. If an individual consumes gluten, the protein interferes with absorbing nutrients which can lead to malnourishment and other health problems. 

According to Beyond Celiac, 1% of the U.S. population has celiac disease but 83% of them live without being diagnosed. Since the symptoms are vague, diagnosis can be difficult. Diagnostic tests for celiac disease include serologi testing as well as an upper endoscopy of the small bowel with a biopsy.

How can it be treated?

The only treatment for celiac disease is a life-long gluten free diet. I realize now that the sentence may be simple, but the actual task of it is hard. For my mom and I, we have had to learn how to read food labels and know what key words signify gluten. We also had to rethink our kitchen. Cross contamination of gluten and non-gluten products can be serious for her. To help prevent this, we have a separate pantry with her items, separate pots, and pans for her to cook in, and separate toaster.

We are still battling the taste factor of items. Many yummy and easy attainable items contain gluten in it. I have started following a lot of gluten free blogs and instagram accounts hoping to get some great tips and recipes.

I’m hoping to add a section to the blog all about our journey through this.



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