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 Dec, 2017

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are beginning for many families, and the rush is on to find that perfect gift. Whether you’ve gotten all of the presents long ago, or you are still in the “research” phase, it’s a good idea to have safety a priority in addition to fun.

Getting presents for kids can be really easy, or quite tricky. You have to think about age appropriateness, trends, components, to name a few considerations. Not sure what to do? It’s okay, here are few tips.

By Premier Family Medical 06 Dec, 2017

How would you answer? When is flu season? You might have heard that it begins in December and often lasts through February. While that’s generally true, it’s also true that the beginning and end of the season are unpredictable. In fact, sometimes it can begin in the fall and continue through spring.

No matter the time of year, though, no one wants to end up with the flu. Coughing, chills, body ache and fever really don’t sound pleasant, do they? So what can you do to make sure that you’re spared for one more season? Get vaccinated.
By Premier Family Medical 29 Nov, 2017

Did you know that November is Bladder Health Month ?

Bladder health isn’t something that’s talked about openly or often. Yet, it’s very important. The ultimate goal of Bladder Health Month is to help people speak more openly about it, improve their overall bladder health and raise bladder cancer awareness.

When we think about bladder health it raises the question: What important things do you need to know on this subject of bladder health? Two issues that you should be aware of are first, urinary incontinence and an overactive bladder (OAB), and what are worrisome symptoms that I should talk to my doctor about.

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: