I thought I would write a post to share with you guys what exactly is coeliac disease and how it is different to an intolerance or allergy. Lots of people now ask me… “What is coeliac disease? What do you need to do? Do you just stop eating gluten?”
Firstly I wish it was just that simple, cutting out gluten is one part of it but there are other factors that you need to factor in… there is no curable medciation for coeliac sufferers. The only current form of managing your condition is to completely and truely live a gluten free, wheat free, rye free diet and manage your symptoms that way.. simple you say?
No one ever wants to be that person at a party where you cannot touch the buffet – buffets are the worst – cross contamination hell! Or the one when you go out for dinner that you need to double check menus everywhere, ask the kitchen staff to double ensure there is no cross contamination. But to ensure you are starting to feel better and lead a better life you need to be that person – for your own health: Lets dive deeper.
Coeliac Disease is an auto immune disease – not an allery or intolerance it is an autoimmune condition. This is where the immune system – the body’s defence against infection – mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. It isn’t an allergy or an intolerance to gluten and In cases of coeliac disease, the immune system mistakes substances found inside gluten as a threat to the body and attacks them. This damages the surface of the small bowel (intestines), disrupting the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food causing malabsorption and malnourishment.
Gluten is a protein found in three types of cereal:
There is no cure for coeliac disease, but switching to a gluten-free diet should help control symptoms and prevent the long-term consequences of the disease. If you don’t get diagnosed then there are long term health effects and If you also don’t stick to a fully gluten free living.
AVERAGELY it takes 13 years to diagnose someone with coeliac disease!!!
The potential long term complications of coeliac disease can be:
- osteoporosis (weakening of the bones)
- iron deficiency anaemia
- vitamin B12 and folate deficiency anaemia
Less common and more serious complications include those affecting pregnancy, such as having a low-birth weight baby, and some types of cancers, such as bowel cancer.
Living with coeliacs is a massive adjustment to alot of things. Checking ahead at restaurants, down to buying a new toaster, breadbin, kitchen utensils, chopping board. You need to completely cut all gluten and cross contamination of gluten out of your life to ensure your immune system becomes stronger again.
I have always wondered for years why I was always ill, run down, iron deficient, upset stomachs, caught every cold anyone had under the sun and now I am diagnosed it all makes sense. If you have symptoms of coeliac disease go and get checked! I didn’t believe I had the disease, and now I am diagnosed it is a massive adjustment but I know long term health I am going to be living a much better quality of life!
Common symptoms (FROM NHS)
The most common symptom of coeliac disease is diarrhoea, caused by the body not being able to fully absorb nutrients (malabsorption).
Malabsorption can also lead to stools containing abnormally high levels of fat (steatorrhoea). This can make them foul smelling, greasy and frothy. They may also be difficult to flush down the toilet.
Other common symptoms include:
- bloating or abdominal (stomach) pain
- flatulence and a noisy stomach
- weight loss
- tiredness and fatigue, which may be a sign of iron deficiency anaemia or folate deficiency anaemia
- tingling and numbness in your hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy)
- vomiting (usually only affects children)
- swelling of your hands, feet, arms and legs caused by a build-up of fluid (oedema)
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