Coeliac disease, pronounced ‘see-liac’, is when the body mistakes substances found in gluten as a threat and attacks them as a result. This can lead to damage of the small intestines, which impairs the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
Symptoms of Coeliac disease are often mistaken for IBS. In fact only 10-15% of people thought to have the condition have been diagnosed.
Symptoms include diarrhoea, bloating, wind, abdominal pain, feeling tired all the time and losing weight. However, people who are normal and even overweight can also have Coeliac disease.
Gluten is found in things like pasta, cakes, cereals, sauces, beers and certain ready meals – making it very difficult to avoid.
Sarah Sleet, Chief Executive of Coeliac UK said: “The Charity is seeing around 1200 new members join every month but we still know that there are many people who are undiagnosed. This research, showing nearly a quarter of coeliac disease patients had a previous diagnosis IBS before ruling out coeliac disease, illustrates the scale of the problem. The sooner someone is diagnosed and begins a strict gluten-free diet, their gut will begin to heal and the risk of further complications will reduce.”
If you think there is a possibility you might have Coeliac disease, you are urged to visit your GP.
Nutritionists specialising in Coeliac disease are able to give advice on alternative ingredients and recipes so you don’t need to give up your favourite foods entirely for a healthier gut.
To find out more, please visit our Coeliac Disease page.
View the Coeliac Awareness Week site here.