Your Indispensable Guide to Coeliac Disease.

3 minutes read.

This is a serious autoimmune condition. If you have it, when you eat anything with gluten in it like wheat products for example, then gluten causes your immune system to attack your body.

What is Coeliac Disease?

Tiny, finger-like projections in your small intestine known as intestinal villi that are responsible for absorbing nutrients are damaged. Therefore, as food travels through your digestive tract, the damaged villi are unable to fully absorb the nutrients and may often absorb extra moisture from the stool instead. This can lead to hardened stools that are difficult to pass through your digestive system, causing constipation.

Unfortunately, this would be the least of your problems because this condition could cause you to develop osteoporosis, nutritional deficiencies, infertility and bone, muscle and joint pain. 

Worse still, research has shown that people with one autoimmune disorder are at risk of developing other immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s disease, Graves’ disease and systemic lupus erythematosus.

Facts about this condition.

It is estimated that 1% of people around the world have this condition. There will be many undiagnosed cases.

1 in 100 people in the UK has it but only 36% have a diagnosis.

There are three times more reported cases in women than in men.

Coeliac disease can develop at any age. Symptoms are more likely to develop either during infancy between 8 and 12 months old or during adulthood between the ages of 40-60 years of age. Children with this condition may not grow at the expected rate and may even have delayed puberty. 

There is no cure and no one knows what causes it but genetics and the environment seem to be involved.

The only thing you can do is to eat a strict gluten-free diet for the rest of your life. Even small amounts of gluten can damage your intestinal villi.

The Symptoms of Coeliac Disease.

Symptoms include:- stomach pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, excessive wind, persistent or unexplained nausea and vomiting, extreme fatigue, anaemia, mouth ulcers, sudden or unexpected weight loss, skin rash, tooth enamel problems, liver abnormalities, fertility issues, repeated miscarriages, ataxia (loss of coordination and poor balance) and peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in your hands and feet.)

Coeliac Disease and your Diet.

Your indispensable guide to coeliac disease.
Image from Tenor

Obviously, gluten is in bread, cakes, pasta and breakfast cereals. Luckily, supermarkets offer gluten-free alternatives to these. The problem is gluten is very sneaky and could be in foods like sauces, some ready meals and even in beer. Unfortunately, food labels have to be carefully checked by people who suffer with this condition.

However, the following are safe to eat:- meat, seafood, dairy foods, gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, fruit and vegetables, legumes, nuts, healthy fats and herbs and spices.

What to do if you think you have coeliac disease?

Speak to your doctor if you experience the above symptoms. There’s a lot and could be symptoms of other illnesses.

Never just stop eating gluten until told otherwise. You wouldn’t produce the antibodies and could get a false, negative result.

I hope this post has shed some light on this often, misunderstood condition.

Feel free to comment in the box below.

Rachel x

Sources: coeliac.org.uk, healthline.com, mayoclinic.org, nhs.uk, betterhealth.vic.gov.au, celiacedmonton.ca

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