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I Wish He'd Get Tested for Celiac Disease
January 12, 2011
I’ve noticed that the more I encourage (dare I say it, nag?) a certain someone to get screened for celiac disease, the more it looks like it won’t happen anytime soon.
This someone is my 30-year-old son, a kid who grew up to be a doctor and is now a surgeon practicing a specialized field of medicine in another part of the country. My son had gastrointestinal issues when he was little but I didn’t put it together back then, nor did the pediatricians we consulted throughout his childhood. Today, as I see him with the same old symptoms and look back at his childhood, it’s clear to me that getting screened for celiac disease would be a good idea for my son. Add to that the bad-health tidbits about various family members, some now dead, that have come to light--and I get worried.
Why does my son resist getting tested? Is it because it’s me, his mother, making the suggestion?
It’s just a simple blood panel, for Pete’s sake.
When I worked as a psychotherapist, I routinely recommended that patients suffering from unremitting anxiety and/or depression who also reported a history of digestive problems or anemia be tested for celiac disease. Getting correctly diagnosed and starting the gluten-free diet was a step toward their emotional recovery.
One woman with brittle type 1 diabetes, who had these emotional and medical symptoms in addition to unmanageable blood sugar levels, refused to get screened for celiac disease. (As her therapist, I believe she wasn’t ready to deal with the possibility of having to further restrict her diet.)
I have two friends with unexplained peripheral neuropathy. I have a neighbor with unremitting acid reflux. I have a friend who’s chronically anemic. And did I mention I have an adult son with ongoing GI issues?
Celiac disease affects 1 in 133 Americans, and over 95 percent of these are undiagnosed. Why won’t people get screened? It’s a simple blood panel, for Pete’s sake!