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Staying Healthy in the Hospital with Celiac Disease EP044

Hospitalization is nearly always the result of a sudden, unexpected event. So how do you plan ahead to keep yourself safe in the event that a health emergency lands you in the nearest emergency room? What steps can you take to stay healthy in the hospital as a celiac or gluten-sensitive patient?

Thanks to a listener suggestion and Nadine’s recent experience with a client recovering from surgery, the Gluten Free RN is addressing the cross-contamination risk in hospital kitchens and the nutrient-deficient foods available in hospital gift shops and vending machines. She also covers the responsibilities of the pharmacist to ensure that medications are gluten-free as well as resources you can use to verify that your prescriptions are safe.

Listen in as Nadine explains the significance of having an advocate with you at the hospital, who can prevent inadvertent gluten exposure and bring in the nutrient-dense food you need to heal. Learn how to communicate your needs as a celiac patient to resistant doctors, nurses, pharmacists and RDs, and plan ahead to stay safe and healthy—even when you’re in the vulnerable position of being in the hospital.    

What’s Discussed: 

Why celiac patients should be skeptical of gluten-free menus in the hospital

  • Nadine has patient in hospital for hip surgery
  • Found out food all cooked on same grill
  • Risk of cross-contamination very high
  • Gluten protein extremely heat stable
  • Made arrangements to bring in safe food

The quality of food available in hospitals

  • Gift shops, kitchens and vending machines ‘abysmal’
  • Often nutrient-deficient, high in gluten
  • Gas station lineup of junk food

How to verify that medications are gluten-free

The role of the pharmacist in providing gluten-free medication

  • Job to ensure safety
  • Should never say ‘don’t have time,’ pass responsibility to patient
  • Must check prescriptions, over-the-counter meds, topical treatments
  • Enteral supplements (through tube) must be checked as well

What you can do to communicate your needs to hospital staff

The significance of having an advocate

  • Friend/family member, fellow support group member or paid advocate
  • Provide access to safe food brought in (too many variables in hospital)
  • Can speak for you when vulnerable (e.g.: crackers after surgery)
  • Assign person before in position to need (sudden, unexpected events)

Gluten-free options for patients on a liquid or soft food diet

  • Bone broth
  • Soup with vegetables

 The role of nutrient-dense food in healing the body

  • Bring 100% gluten-free ‘safe stash’ to hospital
  • Refer to Nadine’s list of nutrient-dense options
  • Remember products labeled gluten-free = < 20ppm (not zero)

The Catch 22 of gluten and hospitals

  • Getting hit with gluten can put in hospital (i.e.: dehydration, GI bleed)
  • Difficult to stay gluten-free in hospital
  • Already at-risk to get sicker

How antibiotics affect your system

  • Wipe out good normal flora along with bad bacteria
  • Need good probiotics, fermented foods to reestablish microbiome

 

Resources:

Gluten Free Drugs Website

Dough Nation by Nadine Grzeskowiak

Emergency Preparedness with Nutrient Dense Foods

Gluten Free RN Episode 15

GIG Resource: Hospital Stays Made Safe

Gluten Intolerance Group of North America

Connect with Nadine: 

Instagram

Facebook

Contact via Email

‘Your Skin on Gluten’ on YouTube

Melodies of the Danube Gluten-Free Cruise with Nadine

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The Connection Between Undiagnosed Celiac Disease and Sleep Disorders EP022


We all know how it feels to struggle through the day when you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Your brain feels fuzzy, it’s tough to focus, and you simply aren’t the best version of yourself! The good news is, there may be a simple explanation for your sleep disorder – and there are steps you can take to eliminate the potential celiac symptoms that are keeping you up at night.

Today the Gluten Free RN shares her struggle with sleep deprivation as an undiagnosed celiac patient who also worked the night shift in the ER. Find out how she leveraged a Paleo diet and went from having a contentious relationship with sleep to becoming a champion ‘Olympic Sleeper’ who enjoys at least eight hours of rest every night!

She also covers the components of an ideal sleep space, suggestions for implementing an evening routine, and the benefits of a good night’s rest. Listen and learn about the connection between sleep disorders and undiagnosed celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

What’s Discussed: 

Nadine’s struggle with sleep working the night shift

  • 10 years as ER nurse working 12-hour night shifts
  • Difficult to shift into normal sleep pattern on days off
  • Circadian rhythm thrown off, felt fuzzy-brained
  • Needed extra sleep
  • Struggle to block out distractions

The correlation between undiagnosed celiac disease and sleep disorders

  • Celiac symptoms can keep you awake at night
  • May experience joint pain, muscle pain, DH, eczema, headaches, muscle twitches, restless leg syndrome

How a Paleo lifestyle can alleviate symptoms preventing sleep

How many hours of sleep you should be getting each night

  • Nadine recommends 8-10 hours of good quality sleep
  • Provides the energy for your body to carry out the tasks of daily living

The components of an ideal sleep space

  • Comfortable mattress
  • Quality sheets
  • Plenty of supportive pillows
  • Appropriate temperature
  • Fresh air, if possible
  • No electronic equipment in the room (i.e.: phones, televisions, computers)
  • Source of white noise (e.g.: fan, music)

The model evening routine

  • Limit screen time in the hours before bed
  • Try relaxing activities like reading or knitting instead
  • Take a warm bath with Epsom salt (muscle relaxer, source of magnesium)
  • Consider magnesium supplements

Celiac symptoms that can cause sleep apnea

How your body heals neurological damage in the absence of gluten

The repercussions of vitamin C deficiency

Signs of sleep disorders in children that may be caused by undiagnosed celiac disease

  • Can’t or don’t want to go to sleep, crying
  • Cranky and fatigued during the day
  • Decreased productivity
  • Learning disabilities
  • Difficulty with focus

Signs of celiac disease in children

  • Short stature
  • Anemia
  • Falling off growth chart
  • Learning disabilities
  • Seizure disorders

Why anyone with sleep disorders should get tested for celiac disease

How Nadine’s sleep issues went away on a gluten-free diet

  • Eliminated back pain, joint pain, skin discomfort, muscle pain, muscle spasms and leg cramps
  • Now she qualifies as an ‘Olympic Sleeper’

The unhealthy approach to compensating for lack of sleep

  • Take in stimulants to make it through the day (e.g.: coffee, sugar)
  • Take depressants at night to help fall asleep (e.g.: alcohol, prescription meds)
  • Everything you consume impacts your health and ability to sleep

A healthy option that functions as a sleep aid

The benefits of a good night’s rest

When to take multivitamins

  • In the morning with food
  • At night before bed (absorbed differently)

The risks associated with prescription medications

Connect with Nadine: 

Instagram

Facebook

Contact via Email

‘Your Skin on Gluten’ on YouTube

Books by Nadine:

Dough Nation: A Nurse’s Memoir of Celiac Disease from Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism