Health 101: Celiac Disease

True Story: "Celiac's been in our family forever"

Kramer Family

Ted and Debbie

Elizabeth Kramer and her oldest child, Ricky, were both diagnosed when he was 18 months old and had chronic diarrhea. When his pediatrician suggested testing for celiac disease, Kramer, who lives in Santa Monica, California, asked to be tested also. She'd been having diarrhea, too, and knew the disease ran in the family -- her grandmother, mother, and sister had all been recently diagnosed.

Ricky's initial test was negative, but hers was positive. Since false negatives are common in toddlers, they both switched to a gluten-free diet, which eliminated their symptoms and confirmed the diagnosis. "It made an amazing difference," says Kramer, whose husband, James, and middle child, Brianna, now 2, both tested positive for celiac genes but don't have any symptoms. Her 9-month-old, Chelsie, is too young for testing but may have benefited from her mom's new diet. At birth, she weighed a pound more than her siblings, and she's been less fussy.

Her top tips:

  • Take gluten-free cupcakes to school and ask the teacher to keep them in the freezer for classmates' birthdays.
  • Make homemade Play-Doh with rice flour.

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