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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Feature:
Celiac Disease

Learning to Live Well with Celiac Disease

Tibbie Klose raises sheep in the Hudson River Valley of New York.
Photo courtesy of Chris Klose

"So far, so good," says Tibbie Klose of her celiac disease. It's been nine years since she was diagnosed with the now-common illness. Nine years of watching everything she eats—at home, with family or friends, at public gatherings where food is served, and especially when traveling.

Otherwise healthy, the 75-year old sheep farmer began suffering from constant intestinal upset and debilitating weakness. Most alarming, she began to lose weight, fast: 15 pounds in two weeks.

"I went straight to my doctor," Klose recalls. "And she sent me to a gastroenterologist for a complete exam, including a colonoscopy. The diagnosis: celiac disease. It was very startling. I'd never heard of it."

The remedy? A completely new—and gluten-free—diet. No more sandwiches with wheat bread for lunch, regular pasta for dinner, or baked goods with gluten, period. Does she miss them?

"Yes and no. Celiac upset me at first, and it can be really hard on others, including people who have to serve me differently. It is very important to tell people you have celiac, for your safety and their convenience."

Now a stable 110 pounds, Klose's top tips for celiac success include:

  1. Learn as much as possible about the disease, starting at medlineplus.gov.
  2. Tell people you need gluten-free foods.
  3. Look for "gluten-free" on food packages and labels.
  4. Eat locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.
Read More "Celiac Disease" Articles

Celiac Disease Changes Everything / What is Celiac Disease? / Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment / Four Inches and Seven Pounds… / Learning to Live Well with Celiac Disease / Living Gluten-Free

Spring 2015 Issue: Volume 10 Number 1 Page 6