Monday, May 21, 2012

May = Celiac Awareness Month




May is Celiac Awareness month and our family can attest to the overwhelming need for just that.......celiac awareness. So....what is celiac? I'll attempt, in this post, to give a brief overview of celiac, what it can do/does and the seriousness of the disease. 


Celiac is an autoimmune disorder of the digestive system. It affects 1 in 133 people (celiac.com). I found a rather simple explanation of it on the Mayo Clinic's website: Celiac (SEE-lee-ak) disease is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten, which is primarily (this does not mean only) found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye. People with celiac disease who eat foods containing gluten experience an immune reaction in their small intestines, causing damage to the inner surface of the small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients.Celiac disease can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. Eventually, the decreased absorption of nutrients (malabsorption) that occurs with celiac disease can cause vitamin deficiencies that deprive your brain, peripheral nervous system, bones, liver and other organs of vital nourishment.


Gluten can also be found in beauty and hygiene products. A person with celiac cannot consume food that has had ANY contact - no matter how small - with anything containing gluten. Complications from celiac disease, especially when it goes un-managed, include: malnutrition, loss of bone density, lactose intolerance, intestinal cancers, neurological complications, and dermatitis. 


By itself this is a complicated, frustrating disease. Combined with type 1 diabetes, and it is.....well, more complicated/more frustrating (????). Combine those factors with 14 year old hormones and it's a tough road to be assigned. In short, celiac is a very serious autoimmune illness. You cannot have "a little celiac" and it is not a food allergy. There is no cure. No magic pill or shot. You cannot eat "just a little" gluten (well, I suppose if you are a fan of intense abdominal pain you could). It can only be controlled through diet. Check out Celiac.com or Celiac.org to find out more.  


All for now - and remember......EDUCATE, INVESTIGATE, INCORPORATE.....you never know who you'll help by doing so!


I'll be posting another bit of writing in the next day or so. Sharing some very special words, from some very special and unforgettable little people. 



4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I didn't see it mentioned but a person with Celiac can not consume oats either unless they have been specially processed and certified gluten free.

No Sugar Needed said...

Great catch THANK YOU! You are 100% correct

Anonymous said...

Hi Sheri, thanks for this blog on Celiac Disease. I have both Type 1 and Celiac. Unfortunately Celiac can bring along other food problems with it, for me those include an intolerance to soy and corn. I find that a good probiotic helps with the Celiac; for instance, the probiotic almost completely eliminates my lactose intolerance. I look forward to your future writings on this subject.

Anonymous said...

This is what is going on in Kelowna , BC , Canada this coming w/e !! http://kelownaceliac.org/kelowna-2012/
And Dr. Ian Blumer will be speaking on celiac disease and its relationship to other autoimmune diseases. Dr. Blumer is an internal medicine specialist in Toronto and is a member of the executive of the Canadian Diabetes Association and is the recipient of the Canadian Diabetes Association Special Dedication Award. Dr. Blumer is a director of the Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre and has a teaching appointment with the University of Toronto. He is the author or co-author of 8 books. Dr. Blumer’s web site is www.ourdiabetes.com.
My personal story ...I know both Dr. Ian and one of the organizers; she liked Dr. Ian's book on Celiac and invited him as one of the Guest Speakers ...and he said YES