Thursday, November 13, 2008

Celiac Awareness

In March Dad was diagnosed with Celiac's Disease. His eating habits had to change quickly. Leanne and I had to learn all there was to know about Celiac's fast. We struggled with some things, like what additives and preservatives and spices contained Gluten and should be avoided. There was also the ritual cleaning out all of the taboo foods from his house and trying to replace them with things he would like an could eat. After 8 months we are into a routine, we make a lot of things from scratch, with gluten free ingredients, to be put in the freezer. We have also become frequent fliers at Sprouts, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's all have good gluten free sections. Now that he is on a diet and is sticking to it he is healthier than he has been in many years.
Since Celiac's is still a mystery to many people and it is hard to remember all that it entails I thought I would share a definition I found on facebook, that pretty well sums up the important points.

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have Celiac Disease cannot tolerate a protein called gluten that is found in wheat, rye, and barley.
Research has shown that timely diagnosis of Celiac Disease is essential to treating or preventing its complications
10 Facts about Celiac Disease
1. Celiac disease is common: affecting an average of 1/133 Americans and up to 1/22 for those associated with risk factors.
2. The average duration of symptoms for celiac patients before they are correctly diagnosed is 11 years.
3. Celiac disease is twice as common as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and cystic fibrosis combined.
4. Approximately 50% of adult patients present with atypical symptoms.
5. Celiac disease is often misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance and up to 1/3rd of celiac disease patients have been previously diagnosed with IBS.
6. Celiac disease meets the criteria for the World Health Organization for justifying general screening.
7. Physicians may use more widely known but less accurate serological testing that can result in missed diagnosis.
8. Up to 21% of intestinal biopsies, necessary for confirmation of celiac disease, are rejected by insurance companies, claiming that the cost of the testing isn’t justified by the symptoms.
9. Celiac disease has a 95 percent genetic predisposition.
10. Celiac disease is associated with or can lead to a number of other disorders including infertility, premature births, reduced bone density (both osteopenia and osteoporosis), neurological disorders, malignancies such as adenocarcinoma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and others, and a host of autoimmune disorders such as insulin dependent diabetes, thyroid disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, Addison’s disease, Psoriasis, autoimmune liver disease, and cardiomyopathy.

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