October is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. If your older family member has Celiac disease, you may already know quite a bit about it. If so, good for you! Learning about the conditions that affect the person you are caring for goes a long way toward making sure they get the care they need. Unfortunately, though, in the search for information about Celiac disease, family caregivers sometimes run across some myths that people might widely believe about the disease but that just aren’t true. Below are some myths about Celiac disease that you may have heard.
Myth: Just because a person was diagnosed with Celiac when they were younger doesn’t mean they still have it.
Truth: Some people mistakenly think that it’s possible to grow out of Celiac disease the way that some people can grow out of certain allergies. However, Celiac disease isn’t a gluten allergy. It is an autoimmune disease. In the past, doctors thought it could be grown out of, but it cannot. If the older adult was diagnosed with the disease as a child, they still have it.
Myth: People with Celiac shouldn’t eat foods made in facilities that process wheat.
Truth: Some companies put voluntary allergy warning statements on their packaging. It’s a precautionary statement meant for people who could have an allergic reaction. However, if the food is labeled gluten free, it is safe even if it has an allergy warning on it. Foods must comply with FDA regulations that prohibit them from having more than a trace amount of gluten that is considered to be a safe level.
Myth: Celiac disease always causes people to be thin.
Truth: In the past, doctors thought Celiac disease always caused people to be underweight. Today, experts know that the truth is that many people who have Celiac disease are overweight. That means it is possible for people with Celiac to be any weight, so people should not assume that just because someone is overweight, they can’t possibly have Celiac disease.
Myth: It’s okay to eat gluten once in a while.
Truth: It really isn’t. Eating gluten, even once in a while, contributes to the damage the disease does to the intestinal tract. It could increase the risk of developing some kinds of cancer. In addition, your aging relative is likely to feel terrible afterward.
Myth: The only thing to think about in terms of diet is avoiding gluten.
Truth: While gluten may be at the top of the list of things to worry about in your aging relative’s diet, it’s also important to make certain they get enough of other nutrients. One nutrient to be especially careful about is fiber since wheat is a major source of fiber for most people.
Home care can assist seniors who are living with Celiac disease to manage the condition better. A home care provider can remind the older adult to take any medications suggested by the doctor. In addition, a home care provider can plan and prepare meals that do not contain gluten while also making sure they get enough nutrients.
If you are considering home care services in Smith Mountain Lake, VA for an aging loved one, please talk to the caring staff at Acti-Kare of Blue Ridge. Call 540-443-6223. Our office provides senior care and home care services in the following locations including Blue Ridge, Lynchburg, Salem, Roanoke, Smith Mountain Lake, and Bedford in Virginia