GSID and the College Student
Going to college is a major milestone for any student. This transition can be really exciting, but it could also be scary for a student with Genetic Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (GSID). The best way to deal with that fear is to be prepared. By ensuring you have the right tools and have sufficiently planned for your healthcare needs at college, you are setting yourself up for success. Going away to college pushes you to new levels of independence that contribute to your future health.
Here are a few tips to managing GSID while at college.
- Educate yourself about your disorder. You should be able to explain what GSID is and how it affects you. Because GSID is a rare disorder, you may want to create a one-page document explaining the disorder in simple terms. Also know any other pertinent medical information, such as your medications and any allergies you may have. If you take medications, you should understand the process of reordering them.
- Find a physician near your college. Some GSID patients choose to use Student Health Services for their medical care, while other college students with GSID use off-campus healthcare facilities. Either way, it is wise to establish medical care soon after arriving on your college campus. Be sure to bring your medical records with you.
- Consult what services your college may offer for students with chronic disorders. Most colleges have a Disability Services Center. Talking with these staff may help provide you needed accommodations, such as unlimited restroom access or additional testing time if you are feeling sick.
- Stay in communication with your parents or caregivers. Keeping them informed regarding your health is wise, considering they can provide guidance and direction as needed.
- Make wise health choices related to GSID. Regarding diet, it can be tempting to eat forbidden foods while away at college. You should be able to follow a GSID-friendly diet, but this will entail you making wise decisions regarding your meals and snacks. Exercise and get plenty of rest to maintain health.
- Decide how much to tell your roommates, friends, and professors about GSID. This is a personal decision. Some patients prefer to keep their medical situation private, while others have found it beneficial to share. Your college campus may offer a support group for students dealing with chronic disorders and illness.
- Understand your housing situation and how that could affect your GSID. Some college campuses require freshmen to live on campus in dorms that have common restroom facilities. If you have concerns about sharing a restroom or proximity of your dorm room to the restroom, you should discuss it with someone on the housing staff. This could be initially embarrassing, but housing staff will likely be accommodating.
Having a chronic disorder, like GSID, can be intimidating for a college student. Being prepared ensures your long-term success.