Dylan Dreyer’s Son Diagnosed with Celiac Disease: Lifestyle Changes and Coping Up
Dylan Dreyer, NBC News meteorologist and Today third-hour co-host, shared her family’s experience with her son’s recent celiac disease diagnosis. Dylan revealed that her 6-year-old son, Calvin Bradley Fichera, was diagnosed with the autoimmune condition after complaining of stomach pain every day.
“I’d ask him, ‘What does it feel like?’ and he’d say sharp pain, and this was going on for months and months,” Dreyer said. On many occasions, the pain was severe, causing Dreyer and her husband, Brian Fichera, to bring Calvin to the emergency room.
The National Celiac Association states that celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune condition that primarily affects the gastrointestinal tract when gluten is consumed. Gluten is a protein present in wheat, rye, and barley. When a celiac patient ingests gluten, the lining of the small intestine is damaged, and they cannot properly absorb nutrients. Symptoms include diarrhea, cramping, bloating, fatigue, headaches, and rash, among others, and the only available treatment is to adhere to a gluten-free diet.
According to registered dietitian nutritionist, Samantha Cassetty, celiac disease can be challenging to diagnose since symptoms may overlap with other digestive and derm conditions. Diagnosis often involves a biopsy during an endoscopy procedure, while blood tests can provide some clues but are not definitive. Gluten cannot be cut out before the endoscopy procedure.
After ruling out other food intolerances and several doctor visits, Calvin underwent endoscopy to determine whether he suffered from celiac disease. He was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer. After antibiotics failed to help, the family discovered through further tests that Calvin had celiac disease.
The family has now switched to a gluten-free diet and other precautions, such as replacing cookware to avoid cross-contamination. “It’s a life change, but we can manage that,” Dreyer said. Dylan and Brian have two other kids, Oliver George (2 years), and Russell “Rusty” James (1 year).
Dreyer’s experience emphasizes the importance of identifying symptoms and seeking medical attention promptly. If someone in your family exhibits severe or chronic digestive symptoms, consult a doctor to seek proper diagnosis and treatment.