Living Gluten-Free: Why You Need to Find Out Whether It’s Really Celiac Disease

By Consumer Dummies

Part of Gluten Free All-In-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If for any reason you or a family member have symptoms that you believe are due to gluten, do not commit yourself or a family member to a long-term gluten-free diet without first seeing a physician to have appropriate evaluation to determine whether celiac disease or some other potentially serious medical disorder is present.

Here are some of the many reasons why you or your family member should not follow a gluten-free diet without knowing what is being treated:

  • A gluten-free diet may not be the correct treatment for the underlying medical problem. A gluten-free diet, for instance, won’t help inflammatory bowel disease.

  • If you have been on a gluten-free diet for a number of months or more, it makes it more difficult to determine whether you have celiac disease. Similarly, screening family members for celiac disease is more difficult if they are already on a gluten-free diet.

  • A gluten-free diet is expensive, especially if the whole family eats gluten-free. Why spend this extra money if you don’t have to? Make sure at least someone in the family has a good reason to be eating gluten-free (be it celiac disease or gluten sensitivity) before committing to this expense.

  • You face some risk of being less well-nourished on a gluten-free diet. Before you put yourself on a gluten-free diet you should first meet with a registered dietitian to receive their expert advice.

  • For medical insurance and tax reasons, a proven diagnosis of celiac disease can be important. Simply advising an insurer or tax department that you felt better not consuming gluten is unlikely to be sufficient to assist you with any insurance claims or applications for tax deductions.