Awareness and Support for Children with Celiac

  • By Premier Family Medical
  • 24 May, 2017
Awareness and Support for Children with Celiac: gluten-free bread

In the United States alone, some 3 million people are living with celiac disease (CD). Since the disease affects people of both sexes and all ages, children make up a significant percentage of those diagnosed.

It’s important, then, that parents have a good understanding of this lifelong condition. That way, they can provide needed support, guidance and help their children to adjust. Are you the parent of a child with celiac? Read on for some suggestions that will help you to do just that!

What is Celiac Disease?

This severe genetic autoimmune disease leaves its sufferers unable to eat foods that contain the protein gluten. These include wheat, barley and rye. When gluten is ingested, the body launches an attack in an attempt to protect itself. However, this attack actually damages the small intestine and prevents the nutrients of gluten from being absorbed into the body.

Hence, many individuals with celiac disease have stomach problems including:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite for fear of stomach discomfort
It’s interesting, though, that only about 20-30% of children have stomach-related symptoms . This makes CD harder to diagnose in children. Diagnosis may be a bit easier if other symptoms are also present such as:
  • Anemia
  • Damaged or discolored tooth enamel
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Itchy rash
  • Lack of appropriate weight gain
  • Delayed growth

After the Diagnosis

The diagnosis has been made. Your child has been confirmed to have celiac disease. What now? First, if your child is old enough to understand, will come explaining what is wrong. This should be in the simplest terms possible, perhaps the same way you would explain an allergy.

There are certain things that our bodies just don’t like. You can help your child to understand that gluten just happens to be the thing that his or her body rejects. Be sure to emphasize that this condition doesn’t mean that something is wrong with them. After all, millions of people around the world have allergies of some sort.

The process doesn’t end with understanding, though. The reality is that, at this time, the only treatment available is a gluten-free diet . Even small traces of cross-contamination from gluten can make your child ill depending on the severity of the disease. That means that at school, in social situations and elsewhere, your child may stand out. Is that automatically a bad thing?

Preparing Your Child For Social Situations

It’s true that most people do not understand what CD is. In fact, many people don’t think of it as real and view the gluten-free diet as a mere choice or preference. This is where awareness comes in. If you’ve helped your child to understand it — in an age appropriate way — they can help their peers and others to understand it too.

The bottom line is that something in certain foods — a protein — makes them very sick. It’s no different from individuals who are extremely allergic to shellfish, fruit or other things. When they come in contact with or eat those things, many break out in rashes, experience nausea and worse.

While some people do choose not to eat gluten for whatever reason, they still have the ability to do so. Individuals with celiac disease do not.

Living With CD

Of course, the best outcome would be for your child to be well-informed and unashamed of having this condition. Learning to be accepting of it makes it that much easier to bear. You can contribute to such an outcome by being informed, keeping a positive outlook and even by making the gluten-free diet fun and exciting!

On the other hand, some children may not yet feel comfortable with discussing their condition. In that case, this shouldn’t be forced on them. Your continued love, support and equal treatment may help them to accept it in due time.

Recent posts from the Premier Family Medical Blog

Premier Family Medical Blog

By Premier Family Medical 13 Sep, 2017
In the U.S. alone upwards of 2.7 million people have this heart condition. What is it? It’s called atrial fibrillation and is the most common type of heart arrhythmia. Research has shown that the number of cases increases with age so as the population of the United States continues to age, the number of people affected is likely to rise. So what exactly is this condition, what symptoms does it lead to and how serious is it?
By Premier Family Medical 06 Sep, 2017

Each year in the United States,  more than 44,000 people take their own lives . That’s an average of 121 suicides per day. It’s estimated that for every one reported, 12 more people engage in self-harm, whether intentional suicide attempts or not.

With rates on a steady incline, it’s past time for action. Each and every one of us needs to have a part in supporting those who struggle with suicidal thoughts. In order to be of any help, though, we need to be able to recognize the signs of a person on the brink. What should you look for and how can you help?

By Premier Family Medical 30 Aug, 2017

It's estimated that  one in five high school athletes will suffer a concussion  during sports season. Younger athletes have the highest rate of concussions. While more perceived contact sports like football are thought to be the highest risk for a potential concussion, all sports carry a similar risk and demand similar precaution and treatment.  As a parent, your first instinct might be to ban your child from playing sports altogether. But is that really necessary? No. Why do we say this?

For one thing, if you encourage your child to play safely and receive training in head injury prevention, you can minimize risk. And if your child does happen to suffer from a concussion, there are steps you can take to ensure that they heal as quickly and as completely as possible.
More Posts

Request An Appointment Find A Doctor Find A Location

Ask Us Anything

Do you have a health topic or question you'd like us to blog about?  Send us a message and lets us know what you want to hear from us. 
*All submissions are confidential

Share by: