To the (woefully) uninformed, Celiac Disease is an eating disorder, fad or a way to drop a few pounds. For those of us who have it, however, it can mean years of misdiagnosis and pain.
Have you ever had a version of this conversation in a restaurant?
You: Does this entree have gluten?
Server: I don't know. Does it matter?
You: Well, yes. Can you check with the chef?
Server: I'm pretty sure it's gluten-free.
You: Well, can you make sure, please?
Server: I guess. What's the worst that can happen? Aren't you just allergic? Can't you just take a Benadryl?
Just an allergy. We Celiacs love that. And malignant melanoma is just a skin condition.
But, going back - our brilliant server asked what was the worst that could happen. Well, here's a list, Buddy:
- abdominal pain
- diarrhea, sometimes debilitating
- embarrassing gas
- painful mouth sores and skin rashes
- incapacitating fatigue
- bone and/or joint pain
- headaches, sometimes migraine
- "brain fog"
- depression and/or anxiety
- tingling and/or numbness of the extremities
- missed menstrual periods
- mood changes
If Celiac Disease is undiagnosed, or if one continues to ingest gluten after diagnosis (even just a tiny little bit) the consequences can be serious. Long-term, CD patients may have certain cancers in their future, such as Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and small intestine cancers. Celiac Disease can leave patients susceptible to certain conditions, such as: osteopenia/osteoporosis; dental issues, like enamel and structure defects; infertility and/or miscarriage; birth defects; anemia; failure to thrive (children.)
People who have Celiac Disease have higher rates of other autoimmune disorders, especially: Thyroid disease
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sjogren's syndrome
Interested in learning more about Celiac Disease and what it does to you, physically and mentally? Check out these articles:
Allergic Living: Celiac Disease's Toll on Your Teeth
NFCA: Celiac Disease Related Conditions
Celiac.com: Malignancies in Celiac
Celiac Disease Foundation: "Brain Fog"
NIH: Celiac Disease and Reproductive Problems
Just for fun: What's the most ridiculous thing you've heard when ordering at a restaurant, regarding your desire for Gluten-Free food? Comment below and we can all roll our eyes together. :)