Medical IDs for Celiac Disease

Living with celiac disease

For some people, eating a gluten-free diet is a health trend. For others, avoiding gluten can have a serious impact on their health. People who have celiac disease have an immune response when they eat anything with gluten in it. For that reason, they need to avoid wheat and other gluten-containing foods for life. 

If you or someone in your family has celiac disease, wearing a medical ID bracelet can protect you when you’re in an accident or experience a medical emergency. 

What is celiac disease? 

Celiac disease is more than just an allergy to gluten or wheat. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases defines celiac disease as a chronic immune and digestive disorder. It is of the world’s most prevalent genetic autoimmune diseases, affecting an estimated 3 million Americans – 70-80% of whom are undiagnosed. 

Celiac disease causes the body to attack its own small intestine. With repeated exposure to gluten, the lining of the small intestine is damaged, so that a person becomes unable to absorb the nutrients they need from food. This can cause permanent damage to the small intestine and other serious long-term health conditions. 

Why do you need a MedicAlert bracelet for celiac disease? 

Wearing a celiac disease bracelet could save your life in a medical emergency. Celiac medical bracelets let emergency responders know that you or a loved one has celiac disease. When first responders and medical providers are treating you they will know not to give you any medications that contain gluten.  

What are the symptoms of celiac disease? 

Adults with celiac disease are likely to have the following symptoms: 

  • Weight loss 
  • Gas and bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation 
  • Nausea/vomiting 
  • Skin rash 
  • Softened bones 
  • Fatigue and headaches
  • Joint pain 
  • Anemia   

In children, digestive symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, are common signs of celiac disease. Since they can’t absorb all the nutrients they need from food, children with celiac might have failure to thrive, delayed puberty or be smaller than average for their age. 

Source: MAYO Clinic

The importance of a celiac disease medical ID bracelet

Wearing a medical ID at all times ensures your medical conditions are immediately known in an emergency.

When first responders see your MedicAlert ID, they know to contact MedicAlert to get your complete health record.

Get protected 24/7 with a MedicAlert ID and membership.

Where is gluten found? 

Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, rye, barley and some other grains. It helps foods hold their shape and plays a role in binding ingredients together. Gluten plays a pivotal role in bread making, as it gives loaves structure. 

The protein isn’t only found in grain-based foods like bread, cookies and cakes. It’s often added to prepared or bottled foods where you wouldn’t expect it. For example, it’s sometimes found in soy sauce, salad dressings and pasta sauces.  

In some cases, foods that don’t naturally contain gluten can become contaminated with it if they are grown or produced near wheat products. Oats don’t contain gluten but are often grown next to rye or wheat fields, for example. Some processed foods that don’t contain gluten are made on machinery that handles gluten-containing foods. 

Non-food products might also contain gluten. For instance, it can be added to some cosmetic products, toothpaste and certain medications.  

Who is at risk for celiac disease? 

While the exact cause of celiac disease isn’t fully understood, it is genetic, meaning it runs in families. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, people who have an immediate family member with celiac disease have a one in 10 chance of developing it themselves. The condition can develop at any point in a person’s life. 

It’s estimated that around 1% of the world’s population has this immune system and digestive disorder, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. Having celiac disease can increase your risk for other autoimmune disorders, such as Addison’s disease or multiple sclerosis. The risk of multiple autoimmune disorders increases the older a person is when first diagnosed with celiac disease. 

Celiac disease also increases a person’s risk of small bowel cancer and coronary artery disease. The Celiac Disease Foundation reports that people with the disorder have twice the risk of coronary artery disease as those without it and four times the risk of cancer. 

How can you manage celiac disease? 

There’s no cure for celiac disease; and no specific celiac disease medication. In fact, people with celiac disease usually must avoid common medications, as they can contain gluten. If you have celiac disease, it’s important to discuss the ingredients in any medicines you plan to take with a pharmacist or doctor to verify that they don’t contain gluten. 

The only way to manage celiac disease is to adhere to a fully gluten-free diet for the rest of your life. A dietitian who specializes in working with patients with celiac disease can help you put together an eating plan that eliminates gluten-containing foods while providing the appropriate amount of nutrition. And it’s crucial to carefully read food labels to find if gluten is an ingredient in prepared foods. 

People who have trouble absorbing nutrients from food due to damage to the small intestine might need to take vitamin and mineral supplements or receive injections of certain minerals and vitamins to ensure their nutritional needs are met. 

While there aren’t medicines to treat or cure celiac disease, your physician might prescribe medications to help ease symptoms or discomfort. Steroids can reduce inflammation in the small intestine, helping your symptoms improve. 

As with any medical condition, you should consult your doctor to learn how to manage your condition.

Where can I get a medical ID for celiac disease? 

MedicAlert has medical IDs, including bracelets, shoe tags and necklaces, that give first responders the most critical information about you or your loved one in an emergency situation. Medical ID cards feature a QR code that an emergency responder can scan to find out more about your medical history.  

What are the benefits of a MedicAlert Membership? 

Pairing your MedicAlert ID with a MedicAlert membership can offer you benefits that extend beyond your ID. Benefits such as a digital health profile, 24/7 emergency protection, emergency contact notification and much more. When you join MedicAlert, you can rest assured that your medical information will be easily available, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in the event of an emergency. 

What should I engrave on a celiac disease medical ID?

MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our medical ID products. The engraving should include any critical medical information that can protect and save your life if you are in an accident or have a medical emergency, including: allergies.

  • Celiac disease
  • Allergies
  • Other health conditions
  • Medications you’re taking
  • Any medical information that needs to be communicated to first responders.

The Celiac Disease Foundation’s mission is to help create a world without celiac disease. Through research, education advocacy, they seek to accelerate treatments and ultimately find a cure.

Feel confident and enjoy peace of mind with MedicAlert