Navigating Childhood with Celiac Disease

Between birthday parties and school cafeterias, childhood can be very difficult for youngsters with celiac disease, says Dr. Anthony Porto, pediatric gastroenterologist at Greenwich Hospital.

celiac
Published May 10, 2012 9:50 PM
2 min read

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celiacBetween birthday parties and school cafeterias, childhood can be very difficult for youngsters with celiac disease, says Dr. Anthony Porto, pediatric gastroenterologist at Greenwich Hospital.

 

celiacBetween birthday parties and school cafeterias, childhood can be very difficult for youngsters with celiac disease, says Dr. Anthony Porto, pediatric gastroenterologist at Greenwich Hospital.

 

Celiac disease is the digestive condition that interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.

 

The only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet, and it’s not easy. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains.

So forget about regular cereal, sandwiches, cookies, pasta, and so many of a child’s favorite foods. Gluten is also present in many food stabilizers and preservatives and, through cross-contamination, may wind up in vitamins, medicines, and other products.

 

“One problem with celiac disease in children is that it often goes undiagnosed,” says Dr. Porto. Some children experience constipation or belly pain as a symptom, and it’s dismissed as a common childhood virus.

 

“Proper diagnosis is critical for children because malabsorption of nutrients in a child’s formative years can manifest itself in delayed growth, delayed puberty, damage to dental enamel and other problems that may last a lifetime,” explains Porto.

 

Dr. Porto tests for celiac disease in a couple of ways. One is through blood tests, and another through an upper endoscopy that allows him to take a small sample from the small intestine. Once a diagnosis is made, dietitians at Greenwich Hospital help parents learn how to make informed decisions at the supermarket and when eating out. You may want to visit https://rxhometest.com/product/celiac-genetic-test to get all the details. 

 

“The sooner a child is diagnosed, the better he or she can learn to enjoy allowable foods that include corn (and corn tortillas), nuts, potatoes, rice, and legumes like peas and beans. Ultimately, we want to help these kids prevent long-term complications with bone growth and fertility. The teen-age years are stressful enough without having to worry about this,” says Dr. Porto.

 

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