My son is celiac, what do I do?

The celiac disease or celiac disease is a permanent digestive intolerance to certain cereals that contain gluten. It is an "autoimmune" disease, that is, the organism "attacks itself" because it generates inflammation in the intestine that can affect other organs. If at home they have just diagnosed someone with celiac disease, it is likely that many doubts arise.

The causes of celiac disease

Do not, celiac disease is not hereditary, But there is a "genetic predisposition to suffer", as they say from the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, which explains why this is why celiac disease is more frequent in families where there is already some case.

Besides genetic factors, there are others that are related to the appearance of celiac disease: the moment in which you begin to eat gluten (too early or too late), breastfeeding (which protects against this disease) or suffer certain intestinal infections.

The effects of celiac disease

Prolonged diarrhea, swollen belly, loss of appetite and weight, sad or irritable mood and malnutrition are the more classic symptoms among young children, as explained by these pediatricians, who add that as the person gets older the manifestations are milder: lack of iron, loss of appetite, short stature, abdominal pain, sores in the mouth and joint pains. It also usually appears on the skin herperiform dermatitis.

The diagnosis to know if it is celiac

In most cases, you just have to do A blood test to measure in the serum the own antibodies of the celiac disease to diagnose it. However, in some cases it is necessary to perform an intestinal biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. This last test consists of obtaining a small sample of the surface of the intestine that is studied in the microscope.

According to the pediatricians, when a case of celiac disease is diagnosed, it is good to study the rest of the family: siblings, parents and children, because there may be someone else with this disease.

The treatment

The treatment against celiac disease is for life, and consists of maintaining the gluten-free diet forever. This is because, although the disease is not cured, the diet makes the symptoms disappear and reduces the risk of other problems such as diabetes, thyroiditis and even some types of cancer.

Celiacs should not eat wheat, barley, rye or oats, but they can take other cereals such as corn or rice. They also have no problem in taking milk, meat and fish not breaded, eggs, fruits, vegetables, legumes, potatoes, oil and sugar.

It is very common to have doubts about processed or industrial foods, as gluten is often used as an additive. Therefore, it is important take foods that are certified as "gluten-free" and always check the containers to know the ingredients. Likewise, it is also good to follow some advice when you go to a restaurant, like always asking about the ingredients and the elaboration process.

From the Spanish Association of Pediatrics warn that contamination with small amounts of gluten "may be enough to reactivate the disease", so they urge be very careful when cooking: you have to use containers and separate spaces for the dishes consumed by celiacs.

Can I prevent my son from being a celiac?

As has been advanced, the time to introduce gluten For the first time, it can be a determining factor in the appearance of celiac disease. Therefore, pediatricians recommend not to do it before four months, but not after seven. Also, they advise not to give a lot of quantity, but to introduce them little by little.

On the other hand, remember that Breastfeeding has a protective effect which is greater "the longer it is", say the pediatricians. "Ideally, the baby should still be breastfed while introducing gluten into the diet, so that breast-fed infants can begin to receive gluten in small amounts from the start of complementary feeding, around six months of age "they conclude.

Angela R. Bonachera

Video: Celiac Disease: What kids have to say

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