Raising awareness | AspenTimes.com

Raising awareness

Dear Editor:

I have Celiac disease, which is an inherited auto immune disease. It means that I have an intolerance to gluten which is found in wheat, barley and rye. Studies show that nearly one in 133 Americans probably have Celiac disease and do not know it. It is the most under-diagnosed disease in the United States today and is now considered “America’s Silent Epidemic.”

There are many different symptoms associated with Celiac disease such as intermittent diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating and indigestion, fatigue, anemia, constipation, skin rashes, migraines, and the list goes on and on. People with Celiac disease can go untreated for many years; it has taken up to 10 years for some people to get a proper diagnosis.

In Celiac’s, the body’s immune system responds to gluten by damaging the lining of the small intestine; this lining has small finger-like growths called villi. Normally, your small intestine is lined with these tiny, hair-like things that resemble a deep pile of a plush carpet only on a smaller scale, they work to absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the food we eat. Celiac is the result of damage to the villi; without villi, the inner surface of the small intestine becomes less like a thick carpet and more like the tile on your floor. Your body is unable to absorb the nutrients necessary to maintain good heath.

Eventually, decreased absorption of nutrients can cause vitamin deficiency that deprive your brain, peripheral nervous system, bones, liver and other organs of necessary nourishment, which can lead to malnutrition and many other illnesses. I have been researching and living life completely gluten-free since 2001 and feel great! It has been a constant uphill challenge learning everything there is to know about this silent disease.

It is my belief that the severity of Celiac disease and the lack of public awareness is cause to be alarmed. It became very clear to me that I needed to take the first step in helping other people learn as much as they can about Celiac disease.

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Through my research and expertise, I have amassed a treasure trove of information and written the most complete guide to understanding and living gluten-free currently on the market. It contains a full description of Celiac disease, what gluten is, the history, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, an itemized grocery shopping guide with thousands of brand-name products that you can eat and dozens of my favorite recipes. It’s called “Should I Be Gluten-Free? America’s Silent Epidemic – Celiac Disease,” by Deb Bamesberger. I am also the representative and contact person with the Celiac Disease Foundation for the Roaring Fork Valley. I will be starting a support group for all those interested. For anyone interested in purchasing one of my books and/or joining the support group, please contact me at 618-8595. You can also go to my website – http://www.shouldibeglutenfree.com for more information. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Deb Bamesberger

Snowmass

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