What You Need To Know About Celiac Disease

I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in January 2013, and although I still keep count of the time I’ve needed to be completely gluten free, now I feel like it’s more a badge of honor than a prison sentence, but I’ll admit, it’s taken a really long time for me to get to this point.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac Facts Infographic from Lauren

Celiac Disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disease that causes damage to the nutrient-absorbing villi in the small intestine. It’s estimated that 1 in 133 Americans (that’s 1% of the total population) has Celiac Disease, and a whopping 83% of those with the disease are mis- or undiagnosed.

Diagnosis

On average, the road to a definitive Celiac Disease diagnosis take 6-10 years. I was one of the lucky ones; my diagnosis was overwhelmingly quick, but I know that I’d been dealing with the underlying symptoms for many, many years.

However, it doesn’t just affect your digestion, though. Sure, a chronically upset tummy can be a symptom, but you might not connect the dots between leg cramps or brittle nails to something like Celiac Disease.

For years I struggled with chronic anxiety, mouth ulcers, sinus pressure, and bloating, but as a whole, it took a long time to finally put it all together. What makes Celiac Disease even more difficult to diagnose is the fact that 60% of children and 41% of adults are asymptomatic, meaning, they have no symptoms.

Celiac Disease Symptoms

For those who have symptoms of Celiac Disease at all, they tend to vary greatly from person to person. Some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss

Some of the more stealthy symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Panic attacks
  • Infertility (in females)
  • Brittle nails
  • Skin rashes
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Leg cramps
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Sinus pressure
  • And many more…

If you think you might have Celiac Disease, it’s important to speak with your doctor. S/he can order a tTG-IgA test and/or an upper intestinal endoscopy to diagnose it. There is no cure, but with a strictly gluten-free diet, it’s completely possible to feel better and get those villi back into nutrient-absorbing super shape!

Medical IDs Are Vital

Like any chronic condition, it’s important to advocate for yourself. Double checking ingredients, self-advocating when eating out, and wearing a medical ID are all helpful steps you can take. A medical ID is especially important because, in an emergency, EMTs and other medical personnel may administer gluten-containing drugs that could make an already difficult situation go from bad to worse.

Choosing a Celiac Disease medical ID bracelet is, fortunately, pretty easy. Because we offer custom engraving, you simply choose the style (or styles!) you like, request the engraving you need, and we’ll customize the perfect Celiac medical ID for you!

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