Anna L. Kaplan is a licensed physician and very experienced freelance writer. She has been writing for more than 15 years on a wide variety of topics, during the last two to three years predominantly focusing on medical subjects.
Dr. Kaplan graduated with a BA in English literature from Pomona College in 1975. She received her MD from U.S.C. School of Medicine in 1979. A three-year residency (training period) in family practice followed, and she was certified by the American Board of Family Physicians in 1982. She recertified, a normal procedure, in 1988 and 1995. She retired from active practice after 13 years, but keeps up with medicine via continuing medical education. Dr. Kaplan’s husband is a physician in a very busy practice.
Anna's Gluten Free Journey
One of the primary reasons for Dr. Kaplan leaving practice was her young son. He suffered from severe and extensive food allergies, as well as asthma, chronic sinus infections and hay fever. He was initially allergic to milk, soy, eggs, peanuts and nuts. He was unable to tolerate any kind of formula or milk replacement. His allergic symptoms varied from hives and other rashes to anaphylaxis – a life-threatening reaction including breathing difficulty, whole body redness and swelling and other symptoms that can progress to shock and death if not treated properly. He was only able to drink Tolerex, an elemental formula with 100% free amino acids, usually given by tube feedings. While he was not allergic to wheat, there were essentially no baked products that he could eat because of his other allergies. He also had a mild immune deficiency.
Because of his near-constant illness, Dr. Kaplan and her husband made the decision that one of them should be home with him. They essentially set up an emergency department in his play area, where he would be given his asthma nebulizer, allergy shots, and whatever else he needed. They had epinephrine ready in case of an anaphylactic reaction, which they only had to use once.
They also trained themselves even more fully to understand and treat food allergies, read food labels, and find ways to cope with eating restrictions. The only packaged foods like granola bars or cookies that Dr. Kaplan’s son could eat without problems were purchased from gluten-free companies. While assuring products are gluten-free, these manufacturers are also more careful to label everything correctly.
She is happy to say that he outgrew most of these allergies; he is still allergic to peanuts and nuts as well as shellfish, and always carries an Epipen in case of an accidental exposure. His diet is much less restricted. Even once he was allowed to eat more foods, he had a significant fear of food, and it took many years for him to learn to enjoy eating.
Other family members have less severe food allergies. There are lots of autoimmune diseases in the family, including rheumatoid arthritis, Grave’s disease (thyroid) and polymyalgia rheumatica. Family members have been evaluated for possible gluten intolerance; to date only one has been diagnosed with it. There has been so much illness in the immediate family that Dr. Kaplan does not even feel like she completely left medical practice. She is aware that many other autoimmune illnesses may show up later.
What Anna Is Up To Now
Dr. Kaplan has written articles and book chapters on food allergies as well as dietary supplements and carbohydrate-restricted diets. She is looking forward to writing about gluten intolerance and bringing up-to-date information to the members of this group.