Coeliac Disease (Celiac Disease)
Coeliac disease is caused by a reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, and other similar proteins found in rye, barley and oats. These proteins damage the small protrusions called villi, line the small intestine and play an important role in food digestion. If damaged the villi are unable to absorb food properly, which can in turn cause diarrhoea and malnutrition.
One of the most common symptoms is diarrhoea. In children growth can be affected and they struggle to gain weight. In adulthood you may encounter weight loss, and you can also become tired and lethargic due to anaemia caused in turn by iron deficiency. You can also encounter stomach pains, sickness and mouth ulcers.Dermatitis herpetiformis in the form of a rash on extremities such as elbows and knees may form.
In the United Kingdom it is thought that one in a hundred people have Coeliac Disease. More people are being diagnosed with Coeliac Disease as a awareness grows and the condition can run in families. It is more prevalent in individuals that have type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes,osteoporosis, autoimmune thyroid disease, epilepsy and ulcerative colitis. Rather unusually people from the west cost of Ireland are more affected than any where else in Europe.
A simple blood test will assist in determining whether you have Coeliac Disease, which can be followed by a biopsy taken from the intestine. Doctors and Dieticians can identify which foods/ingredients should be avoided. The website of the charity Coeliac UK is an excellent reference document and conduit for contacting their group. www.coeliac.org.uk 0870 444 8804
There's no cure for coeliac disease, but it can be controlled by following a gluten-free diet for life. This allows the damaged villi to recover and nutrients can then be absorbed normally again and symptoms disappear. Essentially, the risk of developing bowel cancer is understood to be no more than that of someone who doesn't have coeliac disease, provided they adhere to a gluten-free diet.
It's essential to consult a dietician to understand which foods are gluten-free (fruit, vegetables, fresh meat, fish, cheese, eggs, and milk) and which contain wheat, barley and rye, and should be avoided or replaced with products such as rice or corn flour.
Regular tests are recommended to check for osteoporosis, so that appropriate treatment can be given if necessary. A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D and regular weight-bearing exercise are essential to help prevent osteoporosis from developing.
Links to useful resources for Coeliacs (Celiacs) and others with food intolerances.
Below you will find some links to resources which may be useful if you have an enforced restricted diet such as gluten-free, lactose-free, wheat-free, or another restricted diet. Please note that the links are provided for the convenience and assistance to visitors of our web site and we accept no responsibility for the content of these external sites. Each link opens in a new browser window; simply close that window to return to this page.
The Allergy Foundation/Allergy UK www.allergyuk.org
The Leading medical Charity for people with Allergy & Chemical Sensitivity.
The Coeliac Society www.coeliac.org.uk
Coeliac Disease Information
Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment etc..
CORE - the Digestive Disorders Foundation
Food intolerance information, support and other resources for UK ...
Pages of information about food intolerance. This information has been checked by doctors to ensure it is correct and appropriate for UK patients. Also has many links to other useful web sites.
The uk's only magazine for anyone with a food allergy, food intolerance, food sensitivity - or subject to a restricted diet.
Facts about the disease. Details of literature providing more information and gluten-free recipes as well as links to support groups and suppliers of gluten-free products.
Gluten-Free Diet Information Sheet.
Courtesy of the Vegetarian Society.
Gluten Free Diet - Information about Gluten Free Diets
Surgerydoor - the health website built in Britain, for Britain.
National Association for Colitis and Crohn's Disease
The National Association for Colitis and Crohn's Disease (NACC) brings together people of all ages who have Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's Disease, their families and the health professionals involved in their care.
If you are looking for some help finding a nutritionist, why not try Nutritionist Resource. Take a look at their article on Coeliac desease.
Ashburton Cookery School, Devon
Voted best cookery school for skills in BBC Good Food
Magazine (Jan 2006 issue) .Now running gluten free cookery courses.
T: (01364) 652784
F: (01364) 653825
Information on how to set up and run your very own cookery club.
Brewed in in the very heart of North Yorkshire, close to the famous White Horse of the Hambleton Hills. Traditional hand-made ale using local malted barley and English hops. Including Gluten-Free Ale!