I am proud to call Sandra Robins, The Gluten-Free Optimist, (aka @marylandceliac) my friend, even though we've only met through Twitter and our blogs. Sandra is also the D.C. Gluten-Free Examiner. It was she who gave me the tip about GF Food at Harrah's, Atlantic City.
Today, she wrote this post in response to the recent broadcast of the Dr. Oz Show that discussed Celiac Disease with a newly diagnosed celiac. At the end of the show. Dr. Oz made the statement that someone who suspects Celiac disease "should go on the diet for three weeks and see if it's better, then get tested."
Rightfully, a large portion of the Celiac community is upset with this comment, as well as certain opinions shared as facts by the additional guest. For the record, folks: Blue Cheese is gluten free in most instances -- when in doubt, READ THE LABEL or CALL THE COMPANY.
But I digress.
I asked permission to reprint this here to remind anyone who needs information the truth about celiac disease.
I reprint it verbatim. Thanks, Sandra, for all you do.
By The Gluten-Free Optimist:
10 Important Facts about Celiac Disease and a Gluten-Free Diet
1. Do not start a gluten-free diet until you have been tested for celiac disease (celiac panel blood test and endoscopy if necessary). Testing will not be accurate if you are already eating gluten-free. An endoscopy is necessary to confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease and sometimes to help interpret the results of the celiac panel blood test, which is not always accurate.
2. Many people who test negative for celiac disease are gluten sensitive and find that symptoms improve on a gluten-free diet.
3. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease, not an allergy. It is not part of food allergy testing. Eating gluten damages the villi of the small intestine, preventing nutrients from being properly absorbed. If left untreated, celiac can lead to osteoporosis and cancer, among other things.
4. The only treatment for celiac disease is a 100% gluten-free diet.
5. Symptoms of celiac disease vary greatly and some people have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, like migraines or fatigue. Symptoms are commonly misdiagnosed as other conditions and there is a lot of misinformation about celiac disease. In fact, 97% of people with celiac disease don’t know they have it, and it can take years and many doctors for people to be correctly diagnosed.
6. Celiac disease is genetic. If one family member has it, others should be tested.
7. Gene testing for celiac disease does not tell you if you have celiac disease. If you do not have any of the genes associated with celiac disease, then you can rule out celiac disease. If you do have some of genes, all it means is that you may develop celiac, but many people with the genes never develop it.
8. While there are countless great gluten-free foods and many restaurants have gluten-free menus, cross-contamination is the biggest challenge for most people with celiac disease. Gluten crumbs in a condiment jar, a cooking utensil or serving spoon that has been used on gluten, and even airborne wheat flour, can all cause a person with celiac disease to have a severe reaction, which can last for days.
9. Eating gluten-free is not a weight loss diet. Many gluten-free breads and other baked goods are not only expensive, but high in fat and calories. Many people with celiac disease gain weight on a gluten-free diet as the body heals and begins properly absorbing nutrients. Eating foods that are naturally gluten-free is cheaper and healthier than processed gluten-free foods.
10. While wheat is a top eight allergen required to be listed on food labels in the United States, gluten is not. Gluten (wheat, rye, barley, and contaminated oats) is found in many products and some products are unsafe for people with celiac disease as a result of cross-contamination. Only oats that are certified gluten-free may be consumed on a gluten-free diet and some people with celiac disease are unable to even tolerate oats that are certified gluten-free.
Much love, and thanks for the guest post, Sandra!