May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month

The month of May has been designated as National Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Celiac Disease affects one in 133 people in the United States. It is estimated that only 5% percent of the people who are affected are aware that they have it.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, celiac disease is defined as “a genetic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.” If left untreated, celiac disease can cause long-term health conditions such as gall bladder malfunction, infertility or miscarriage, pancreatic insufficiency, early onset osteoporosis or osteopenia as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Dermatitis
  • Bloating
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Delayed growth in children

Diagnosing celiac disease is performed through a blood test. If the results of the blood test come back positive, an endoscopy will be performed to give a definitive diagnosis.

In addition to having a better understanding of celiac disease, educating yourself about the changes to expect in your lifestyle will prove helpful. Some of the changes include:

  • Discarding any food that contains gluten. This means sticking to a strict diet that excludes barley, farina, oats, rye, and other known to have gluten.
  • Excluding certain items from your diet may deprive you of some nutrients. Therefore, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor about which vitamins and dietary supplements you should take.
  • Evaluating the ingredients in medications, some may have small amounts of gluten.
  • Taking care of your body by exercising and implementing more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
  • Following up with your physician or dietician as recommended. This is important as it will help to monitor your nutritional intake and check for deficiencies.

If you are experiencing symptoms of celiac disease and would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.