If you just recently received a diagnosis of Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you want to be thankful for the fact that you found out what it was that was ailing you. Also, you want to be thankful that we live in a time where we have access to loads of resources, including some really great recipes and some pretty amazing support groups. We are fortunate enough to have some of the best tasting gluten free foods ever. Let’s not forget that you can pretty much eat out at most places, these days. Here are a few things you should know about Celiac Disease, in case you didn’t.
- 1 in 133 Americans has Celiac disease, about 1% of the population
- It’s estimated that 83% of those who have Celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions
- It takes an average of 6-10 years to be correctly diagnosed (Source: Daniel Leffler, MD, MS, The Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center)
- 5-22% of Celiac patients have an immediate family member (1st degree relative) who also has Celiac
- Celiac disease can lead to a number of other disorders including fertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and other autoimmune diseases
After receiving a proper diagnosis, you can begin the healing process. Most individuals may need to supplement with vitamins, minerals, IV therapy, herbs and other therapies to overcome deficiencies and malnutrition. The longer it takes to get diagnosed, the more risk you have for developing other problems. That being said, it is imperative you seek a specialist and continue to request necessary diagnostic procedures.
Sometimes getting the list of what you can and can’t eat makes you very frustrated, but don’t fret, this is the beginning of an interesting new journey. The most difficult time is the first year or two after diagnosis. Most people feel isolated, scared, overwhelmed, and deprived of what they love. Along with that comes the emotional and social aspect of this restricted diet and some individuals end up falling into a bit of a depression, temporarily. This is completely normal and will pass. It’s important to remember that you can live a very healthy and happy life without being deprived of the foods you love.
Once you have navigated through the restaurant dining scene, you will realize there is a plethora of food you can enjoy. Most eateries have gluten free menus now. You can also get the best cookbooks that will have you making the most incredible breads, snacks, and meals; No one would tell the difference. One book we love is by Sherry Brescia: Great Taste, No Gluten. This book includes lists of healthy foods to stock in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer, a guide on how to substitute with gluten free options, and a gluten free grain guide that will teach you how to work with different flours.
It’s extremely important to work with a healthcare practitioner that can dedicate the time to listen to your needs and answer your questions and concerns. Whether you are newly diagnosed and still having some symptoms, or if you believe you may have a food allergy or intolerance, feel free to contact us at The Salerno Center @ 212 582 1700. We can evaluate a treatment plan that would best suit your individual needs.
Statistics obtained from www.celiaccentral.org