What is Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistackenly attacks the digestive track in response to gluten be ingested. This response happens when a component of gluten called "gliaden" penetrates the intestinal lining and sets off inflammatory cells in the tissue below.
Coeliac Disease is a life-long condition with no cure. The only treatment is a strict gluten free diet. If the condition isn't managed then it can lead to other complications such as nutrient deficiencies, anaemia, lactose intolerance, infertility, osteoporosis, and risk of developing coronary artery disease and small bowel cancer.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is a sticky protein that helps food keep its shape. In fact - the name gluten comes from the Latin word for glue.
Gluten is found in all sorts of food such as bread, pasta, sauces, stocks, fried foods, batters, couscous, gravies, pastries and more.
What are the symptoms of Coeliac Disease?
There are a wide range of symptoms that can come with Coeliac Disease, such as:
Abdominal pain, bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, fatigue, rash, vomiting, weight loss, difficulty getting pregnant, tingling in hands and feet, swelling, vitamin B12 deficiency, anaemia.
These symptoms should go away after moving to a gluten free diet.
How do I get tested?
If you are worried you may have Coeliac Disease, see your GP and let them know what symptoms you are experiencing. They may ask you to keep a food diary of what you are eating and what symptoms you are experiencing. You will get refered for a blood test, and if that comes back with positive results then you will have a small stomach biopsy to confirm Coelaic Disease.
What is the difference between Gluten Intolerance and Coeliac Disease?
Gluten intolerance and Coeliac Disease both present in very similar ways. The most common symptoms are exactly the same - bloating, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue etc. However, gluten intolerance is not an autoimmune disease, it is the body struggling to digest gluten. Coeliac Disease is when the immune system attacks the digestive system in response to ingesting gluten and can lead to lifelong complications if not treated with a gluten free diet.