NEWBERRY — According to WEBMD.com, Celiac Disease is a problem some people have with foods that contain gluten, a type of protein. It’s found in the grains wheat, barley, rye, and triticale, which is a wheat-rye cross.
The disease causes an abnormal immune system response that damages the small intestine and makes it harder for the body to absorb nutrients from food. If untreated the disease can contribute to anemia, osteoporosis and an increased risk of lymphoma.
In children, Celiac Disease can slow growth and weaken bones. Symptoms can include gas and bloating, weight loss and fatigue.
In some instances, children’s behavior (i.e., hyperactivity) might change once gluten is removed from the diet and the patient is treated. If left untreated, it can affect the brain, nervous system, bones, liver and other organs because poor food absorption makes the organs malnourished.
Ben Green’s mother, Savannah, has the following tips for families and parents dealing with Celiac Disease:
• Find an online organization to go to.
• Do research online for support groups and information resources.
• If in Newberry shopping, try Michelle’s.
• Don’t forget to send a child gluten free bread and gluten free snacks.
• Have a “just in case bag” ready for spontaneous trips.
• Learn to ask about food.
• Learn to read labels.
• Be open to experimenting with recipes and trying new things.
• Involve children in mealtime activities, like cooking, so they take an active role in managing the condition.