Learning to Live With Celiac Disease
You may not know you have it, but celiac disease can rob the body of nutrients it needs to thrive.
Should You Get Tested? continued...
In fact, a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine
suggests that screening people with osteoporosis for celiac disease may help
improve treatment and reduce the risks associated with fragile bones.
In the new study of 266 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and 574 women
without osteoporosis, nearly 4.5% of the women with osteoporosis tested
positive for celiac disease; only 1% of the women without osteoporosis tested
positive with blood tests. What's more, follow-up intestinal biopsies confirmed
celiac disease in 3.4% of women with osteoporosis and only 0.2% of women
without osteoporosis. And the more severe the celiac disease, the more severe
the osteoporosis, the study showed.
Onus Is on You
If your doctor doesn't bring celiac disease up, it's up to you. LaPook
suggests patients tell their doctors, "I was reading that it turns out thinking
about celiac disease has changed in the last 30 years and the symptoms can be
more subtle; I am wondering if I may have it. I hear it's a simple blood test
to do a screen for it."
"If they have one of a host of autoimmune conditions such as type 1
diabetes, Sjogren's syndrome ... they should raise the question of this
diagnosis with their doctor. And the only way to really demonstrate that you
don't have it is to test for it," Green says.
Celiac disease often occurs in people with other autoimmune diseases. In
fact, 8% to 10% of people with type 1 diabetes also have celiac disease, he
Kids With Celiac Disease
"It's a good diagnosis to get because you can get better just by hanging
your hat on it. And there are no side effects to changing your diet," Green
says - unless you are a kid.
"It's such an easy treatment, but if you are a kid and suddenly you can't
have pizza or hot dog buns or hamburger buns, it's a big deal because there is
nothing a kid wants more than to be like his peers," LaPook says.
That's where creative nutritionists like Dana Greene, MS, RD, a nutritionist
in private practice in Boston, come in. Greene says living a gluten-free life
just takes some adjustment. "It requires some lifestyle changes," she tells
WebMD. The first step is learning to read labels and identify culprits that
that may contain hidden gluten. "Hidden gluten can be found in unlikely foods
such as cold cuts, soups, hard candies, soy sauce, many low or nonfat products,
even licorice and jelly beans," she says.