Sophomore Lexy Augustine is one of the three million people in the United States alone that is living with Celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which eating gluten damages the small intestine. Damage in the small intestine isn’t the only thing Celiac can affect.
“Since being diagnosed with Celiac and changing my diet I now feel less tired. I can also do more without feeling sick,” said Augustine.
When athletes have Celiac disease, they have to closely monitor their diet. Digesting any gluten at all decreases their performance. Symptoms of eating gluten with Celiac disease include headaches, decreased stamina, stomachaches and an increased risk for bone issues.
“I’ve also noticed a fairly big difference in how well I can perform when I play sports. Now that I have the right diet, I have better endurance so I don’t get as tired when I play,” said Augustine.
Augustine was diagnosed around six months ago. When she was first diagnosed, they performed a procedure that looked at her stomach using a camera. They found that her stomach was inflamed and also contained too much acid.She now has to go to the doctor every three to four months to make sure her small intestine is healing. By taking her blood and look for antibodies in it. A healthy level is around three, while Augustine’s are over 100. As she is healing it will continue to drop.
“If my levels keep improving, then I might be able to eat oats soon. Technically, oats are gluten free. In granola bars for example, there are oats, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I can have them. The oats may be contaminated with gluten so they aren’t safe for me to eat yet. My doctors are cautious of it right now because my intestines are still healing,” said Augustine.
Although Augustine has changed her diet and is looking forward to eating oats, there are still foods she won’t be able to eat.
“I’ve had to change my whole diet. I definitely took the freedom that came from being able to eat whatever I wanted for granted. I miss cake and donuts the most though because those were my favorite,” said Augustine.