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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?

About Outlook

  • 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?
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References:

Celiac disease. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114570/Celiac-disease. Updated September 14, 2016. Accessed October 3, 2016.
Celiac disease (gluten enteropathy). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated May 2014. Accessed December 31, 2015.
Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated May 2014. Accessed December 31, 2015.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 12/20/2014

 

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