Every week, I read several articles about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet that show up in Google Alerts and various news feeds. Many of the articles appearing in newspapers and other sources have inaccurate information about celiac disease, referring to it as an allergy and only focusing on digestive symptoms.
When I encountered this article, "Gluten Free: Millions Have Celiac, Few Diagnosed", written by Jaclyn Gallucci and published yesterday in the Long Island Press, I was impressed with the title and photo. As I read the article, I was amazed by how detailed it was and how many facets of gluten-free life were accurately explained through interviews with several people. It is a well-written and intriguing article, which would be great to share with friends, coworkers, and family members. Here are some of my favorite parts.
"She had celiac disease, a potentially fatal, but treatable, disease that is almost never diagnosed properly, if at all. Even when it is, parents and children struggle to get others—including doctors and school administrators—to take them seriously."
"Over time, celiac can lead to cancer, malnutrition and other disorders. But because many people think of gluten-free as a diet or fad, the fact that the disease is a serious, chronic, lifelong problem, is often overlooked."
"Since celiac, a multi-symptom and multi-system disease, doesn’t always involve a stomachache, produces strikingly different symptoms in different individuals, and often mimics other disorders, it is commonly misdiagnosed. Celiac could manifest as an intestinal infection in one patient, a rash or growth problems in another and neurological problems or even dementia in a third."
"Amanda, 9, was diagnosed with celiac when she was 5 years old. She had leg cramps, headaches and a distended belly. At her yearly checkup, the doctor found she was anemic."
"As a rule, every first-degree relative is supposed to be tested when a child is diagnosed with celiac. Albertelli tested positive for the disease. Even more shocking, her husband, who didn’t seem to have any telltale symptoms, was diagnosed as well."
"But avoiding gluten can be challenging, and cross-contamination is a serious possibility. If a piece of bread is only dunked in a pot of sauce that a celiac will eat or if a knife used to cut a doughnut is then used to slice gluten-free bread, there is enough gluten transferred in each instance to cause damage"
"After months of jumping through hoops, Amanda can now use a separate microwave." (referring to lunch at school)
The entire article is fantastic, so please take the time to read it. It left me feeling that the author, a complete stranger, has true empathy for people like myself with celiac disease. I wonder if she has a personal connection to someone with celiac disease. Thank you Jaclyn for this informative and refreshing article, which will help to increase awareness of celiac disease!