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.
General Tips for Gathering Information
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.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
About Celiac Disease
- How common is it?
- How serious is it?
About Your Risk of Developing Celiac Disease
- 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?
About Treatment Options
- 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?
About Lifestyle Changes
- 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?
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.
Last reviewed July 2008 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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