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Local family deals with celiac disease, seeks to raise awareness

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Alex Goldman used to feel sick while other kids enjoyed their food.

In June 2012, Alex and her father David were diagnosed with celiac disease, which causes a reaction to eating gluten.

“I feel really, really sick and I get a really bad stomachache,” Alex said about eating gluten-rich foods. Because gluten is found in foods rich in wheat, barley and rye, the family had to completely change their eating habits.

There is no cure for celiac disease, though switching to a gluten-free diet can keep celiacs from getting sick.  Symptoms vary depending on the person, so sometimes a person will not even know he or she has the disease.

“We really only are identifying the tip of the iceberg with patients with celiac sprue, because patient symptoms may vary considerably,” said Charles S. Sninsky, Doctor of Gastroenterology.

David Goldman, Alex’s father, was not aware that he had the disease until his daughter was diagnosed, and he went to get tested.

Many restaurants offer gluten-free menus, and grocery stores have many substitute products, but changing your eating habits can only go so far, the Goldmans said.

They urge the community to get educated about the disease, so those with celiac disease, particularly children, will have others looking out for their eating habits.

Laura Foreman edited this story online.

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