by Alan R

Talking to Your Doctor About Celiac Disease

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with celiac disease. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions you may not have thought to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and ask for clarification if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions and to find out where you can get more information. You have a right to know.
  • How common is it?
  • How serious is it?
  • Members of my family have celiac disease, but I’ve never had symptoms. Should I be tested?
  • I have celiac disease. Should my children be tested?
  • If celiac disease does not run in my family, can I still get it?
  • What treatments are available if a gluten-free diet does not control all of my symptoms?
  • Do you recommend medications for me?
  • What benefits and side effects should I expect from medications?
  • Is there a chance that at some point I may be able to re-introduce some gluten-containing foods to my diet?
  • Where can I buy gluten-free foods?
  • Are there any alcoholic beverages that are gluten-free?
  • What if I accidentally eat gluten-containing foods?
  • Do I need the help of a dietitian to maintain a gluten-free diet? If so, can you refer me to one?
  • What specific precautions should I take before eating at restaurants?
  • How can I eat when at other people's homes, on vacation, etc?
  • Other then maintaining a gluten-free diet, can I live a normal lifestyle?
  • If I maintain a gluten-free diet, can I avoid severe complications from the disease?

References

American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://www.aafp.org. Accessed March 9, 2006.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research website. Available at: http://www.mayo.edu. Accessed March 9, 2006.

The Merck Manual of Medical Information.17th ed. Simon and Schuster, Inc.; 2000.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov. Accessed March 9, 2006.

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