For those of you who are reading this blog, wondering “what on earth is Coeliac disease!?”, then I hope this will help explain things a little bit.
In short, a coeliac (pronounced see-lee-ac) is a person who cannot eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, malt, barley, rye and rusk. Some Coeliacs are also affected by oats.
This is not just a case of fussy eating!
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease, not a simple food allergy. When a coeliac eats gluten, this causes an autoimmune reaction – in other words, the body attacks its own tissues.
Symptoms of Coeliac Disease
- bloating, pains in the stomach, nausea, diarrhoea, excessive wind, heartburn, indigestion, and/or constipation
- any combination of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency
- tiredness and/or headaches
- weight loss (but not in all cases)
- mouth ulcers
- hair loss (alopecia)
- skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis (DH))
- tooth enamel problems
- repeated miscarriages
- joint and/or bone pain
- neurological (nerve) problems such as ataxia (poor muscle co-ordination) and neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet).
It is important that if you think you may have Coeliac disease that you see your doctor. As a personal rule, I don’t believe in self diagnosis, but I’m no medical expert!
For more information on the diagnosis of Coeliac disease, click here.
Currently, the only treatment for coeliac disease is to follow a strict gluten free diet. Although this can be difficult to cope with and manage at first, I have always found that my doctors and dieticians are very supportive. Keeping a food diary can help you to focus on your diet, and many gluten free food companies do special “starter packs” for those who are newly diagnosed.