Living with Celiac Disease
May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. An estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or around 1% of the U.S. population, has Celiac Disease. About 83% of them don’t know they have it. By understanding how Celiac Disease affects the body and its symptoms, those who may be a “Celiac” can seek proper care under medical supervision.
Celiac Disease is a genetic immune disorder. Those with a parent, sibling, or child with this illness have a 1 in 10 chance of developing it themselves.
When someone with Celiac Disease ingests gluten in the form of wheat, rye, barley, and other specific grains, their immune system begins to attack the small intestine. It’s often painful and can cause long-term damage to the small intestine, interfering with its ability to absorb other nutrients. Over time, attacks may lead to autoimmune disorders, anemia, infertility or intestinal cancer.
Celiac Disease sufferers often deal with pain, bloating, and fatigue. Unless you adhere to a strict gluten-free diet, consuming it, even accidentally, may cause a lot of issues.
One gluten sufferer noted: “Our ‘tired’ when we’re ‘glutened’ is not the same ‘tired’ that you feel. There should really be a new word invented for the ‘gluten tired’.” It’s been reported that just one gluten incident can cause symptoms such as headaches, upset stomach, exhaustion and mood swings lingering for weeks.
It’s difficult to just stop eating gluten. Most processed foods contain it. Also, while there are thousands of products that claim to not contain this ingredient, many still have hidden traces of gluten.
One Celiac sufferer recounts a story about how she “glutened” herself by accident with a bag of popcorn that proudly displayed “gluten free” on the front: “It was my fault for not turning the package over… and searching for those magic words ‘processed in a facility with wheat.’ Maybe I was tired of
being careful. Maybe I just wanted to feel normal.” The handful of popcorn she ate caused almost two weeks of headaches and general malaise.
Celiacs also have to monitor foods similar to those containing gluten, such as rice or corn, to ensure that they don’t have reactions to them. They have to be their own investigators and nutritionists given their symptoms go far beyond the more common gluten intolerances we hear about today. If you have Celiac Disease, you may benefit from a Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card. Doctors may prescribe prednisone, methylprednisolone, Medrol, DexPak, Orapred, or other medications in the event of a gluten reaction. These medicines may be discounted with our card. To look up the drug savings, visit Wtree.us/SavingsTool. To get a card, text CARD to 95577, or click here.
Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.
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