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Celiac.com 11/09/2012 - From their position in the public eye, celebrities can often draw attention to worthy causes, and to advocate for awareness of those causes more effectively than people outside the media spotlight. After being diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008, actress Jennifer Esposito is on a gluten-free diet, and though she's still recovering from the damage to her small intestines, the 'Blue Blood' actress is emerging as a strong advocate for celiac awareness. Like so many others with celiac disease, Esposito suffered for many years with symptoms ranging from stomach upset, exhaustion, joint pain, sinus infections, dry skin and hair, panic attacks, depression, and back pain. In fact, nearly twenty years went by before she had a solid diagnosis. In a recent interview, Esposito told S. Z. Berg that she is still dealing with the "repercussions of improperly being diagnosed over the years." She points to a lack of awareness about the disease for consumers and that fact that only recently "is the medical field paying closer attention." In a line that may be familiar to many people with celiac disease, she points out the long struggle to fully recover, even after adopting a gluten-free diet, noting that even though "many of the stomach issues and other ailment start to subside," celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that requires daily attention. People with the disease, she says, must constantly be aware of what they eat and maintain a healthy lifestyle, along with healthy vitamin and mineral levels. She says that her recovery has been "a long journey... and one that I still am on. The severe panic attacks have subsided as well as the depression, but with one bad meal they are ready and waiting to come to the forefront." Her own struggles have left her "determined to educate and make people aware of the truth about this disease." Ultimately, Esposito had her celiac disease confirmed through blood test and biopsy, but in some ways, that was only the beginning of her challenges. She says she believes that the medical industry needs to focus on "treating the individual person, the whole person, body and mind and not about money and mass studies of a disease." She also bemoans what she calls the "one pill fits all mentality" of the medical profession, along with the fact that nutrition is something that gets addressed only after an individual has gotten diagnosed. She describes this as "negligence," and says that it has compounded the damage, and with it, her difficulties. "My life is dramatically different and my health is a struggle everyday," she says. To help others with their celiac disease struggles, Esposito has created a blog called Jennifer's Way. There, she hopes to help people learn more about celiac disease and share the struggles and triumphs of her journey toward wellness. Her blog includes tips, ideas, and advice on how to get started in this new life. I also share some of my favorite easy and good for you recipes that I've created. She's also founded Jennifer's Way Foundation for Celiac Education to help make sure that going forward there is proper education about this disease in addition to helping to generate awareness to help people live a healthy gluten-free life. Jennifer has a nonprofit organization, Jennifer's Way, to help educate the public about celiac disease. Her Twitter handle is @JennifersWayJE. Developing Story: Breaking news indicates that Jennifer Esposito has been dismissed from her role in Blue Bloods, for reasons she says have to do with her celiac disease. This story is developing, so stay tuned... Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sz-berg/jennifer-esposito-celiac_b_1770642.html
Celiac.com 06/17/2014 - Ever notice how much our social lives are based around food? Or how much food is all around us? I took my son to a local children’s exhibit today with shops and about twenty different restaurants, cafes and bakeries we had to walk by. Do I feel bad always having to say no? Of course I do. What mom wouldn’t? There may have been some safe choices but I try to do my research ahead of time when I can call the places to see what their cross contamination procedures are. We don’t ever get a day off from food allergies. It is constant. I think one of the best things you can do on a gluten free diet is to inform others,actively campaign for yourself and share information. Not only does this help out the gluten-free community but it also can make your life easier. Here are a few ways you can do this. If you go to restaurants where you have a chatty server or have the opportunity to speak with the manager or owner talk to them about cross contamination and what you expect when dining out. Inform them about kitchen and staff training for their establishments, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness GREAT Kitchens and The Gluten-Free Food Service Training and Management Accreditation Program by the Gluten Intolerance Group are both excellent programs. I think a lot of restaurant owners aren’t aware of how serious the risks are and how the tiniest crumb can make us sick. I am not a big fan of grocery shopping in general and really don’t want to have to go to several stores a week to get what I need. I am pretty picky on my gluten-free bread and pizzas, I hate to spend money on a product I am not going to like. I frequently put in request at my supermarket customer service counter for them to carry certain brands. Guess what it works and the stores want you to do it. The gluten-free market exploded over the past few years, most big grocery stores don’t already know the favorites of the consumers. Educate your friends and family. Thanks to social media we have the opportunity to spread information like never before. There are a ton of great infographics on symptoms and gluten-free foods and safety. For me one of the hardest things is how social eating is.Getting invited over for dinner is tough. My friends have good intentions but just aren’t aware of all the foods that may contain gluten and how to properly handle food prep. I know I can be somewhat shy when it comes to this. It is hard to explain to people why spices may contain gluten or that barbecue sauce. It can make you seem overly picky and I don’t like to be a burden. If that is the way you feel hey I get it. But don’t be nice and just eat food without questioning. It’s not worth it. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to explain everything to someone, I normally bring my own food or eat beforehand. A lot of times I try to just keep things simple and suggest we meet for coffee or for a walk. Unfortunately there are going to be people that don’t food sensitivities seriously. Food allergies are being made fun of in the media too often. Always remember to put your health first. I hope that you find what I have shared helpful. Please feel free to share some of the ways you inform others and help the gluten-free community.
Celiac.com 01/03/2009 - The development of reliable blood tests for celiac disease have shown the condition to be much more common than previously thought. In fact, the rate of diagnosis has increased sharply in recent years. It’s been well documented that, for most people celiac disease, a gluten-free diet leads to healing of the small intestine, and brings about overall improvements in their quality of life. Current medical wisdom dictates that once a person is diagnosed with celiac disease and experiences an improvement in symptoms by adopting a gluten-free diet, there is little need to undergo follow-up screening unless they experience a clear recurrence of symptoms. Some doctors are beginning to challenge that practice. However, it is also becoming clear that people with celiac disease face a higher risk of risk of developing a number of long-term complications and other autoimmune disorders. The list of such complications and conditions associated with celiac disease is growing rapidly, in particular, autoimmune disease, malignancy, and bone disease. Can these be prevented and outcomes improved? Risk factors that can predict or shape long-term outcomes include genetic make-up, environmental factors, especially gluten consumption and exposure, persistent small intestinal inflammationâ„ damage and nutritional deficiencies. The use of genotyping has yet to establish a clinical role in the long-term management of duodenal biopsy. Symptoms, blood tests, or other non-invasive methods are poor predictors of healing status, or the likelihood of associated complications. This means that long-term management of celiac care might benefit from strategies laying somewhere between regular biopsies for life and simple faith that one is successfully following a gluten-free diet. A team of doctors based in Australia recently set out to conduct a systematic review of the complications and associations of celiac disease, to identify potential risk factors, to define ways of assessing risk factors and to provide a strategy for management. The team was made up of Dr. M. L. Haines, Dr. R. P. Anderson & Dr. P. R. Gibson, and they conducted a review of medical literature going back to 1975. The doctors found that all people with celiac disease should have follow-up exams. They felt a reasonable minimum for all patients would be an initial consultation 1–2 weeks after biopsy diagnosis, review consultation 3–6 months later and subsequent annual reviews assessed on an individual basis. As to whether the follow-up should be done by a specialist, such as a gastroenterologist, or by a general practitioner, a nurse practitioner, or a dietitian, the research team noted that most celiac patients prefer to see a dietitian for follow-up, with a doctor available as needed. The team felt that special attention should be paid to patient adherence to a gluten free diet. The doctors noted the ease of gluten ingestion and pointed out that 6 in 10 patients experience persistent histological changes within an average of two years of undetected gluten exposure. They also noted there are a large number of associated conditions that can be averted by keeping celiac disease under control. They also note that symptoms and blood tests are poor indicators of intestinal damage levels on a cellular level. Such damage can spread from the cellular level to the systemic level over time, leaving people with untreated celiac disease face an elevated risk of developing infection. The researchers noted that people untreated celiac disease have significantly reduced levels of leucocytes, total lymphocytes, and CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes compared to those with treated celiac disease and to the general population. With so many associated conditions tied to celiac-related intestinal damage, controlling or preventing that damage becomes crucial. They also note that proper monitoring of celiac disease can help to prevent celiac-associated neuro-psychiatric conditions such as anxiety, headaches, behavioral symptoms and depression, which, it is thought may be triggered by impaired availability of tryptophan and disturbances in central serotonergic function. The proper control of celiac disease can help to prevent the development of, or improve, numerous celiac-associated conditions. That proper control means a reliable means to assess patients for follow-up, and the study presents several aspects of a new protocol for treating celiac disease over the course of the patient’s lifetime. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 28, 1042–1066