Today marks the start of Coeliac Awareness Week which is from 13th-20th March 2019.
Coeliac Awareness Week aims to increase awareness of Coeliac disease to those in dietary and medical professions as well as the general public. During this week, Coeliac Australia holds a number of events and programs to achieve this.
What is Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac Disease is a condition that affects the small intestine where the immune system reacts abnormally to gluten. This reaction to gluten causes inflammation and damage to the small bowel. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. The damage of the small bowel means that nutrients from food are not properly absorbed into the body.
What are the symptoms of Coeliac Disease?
The symptoms of Coeliac disease can vary from person to person and include:
- gastrointestinal symptoms
- iron deficiency
- weight loss or weight gain
- bone and joint pains
- easy bruising of the skin
- irritability or altered mental alertness
- skin rashes
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is advised that you consult with your GP.
Diagnosis of Coeliac Disease
Diagnosis is essential for Coeliac Disease as it is a complex medical condition that has lifelong implications.
Coeliac Australia recommends the following tests on how to get diagnosed with Coeliac Disease.
1. Gluten Challenge: A normal diet must occur for the six weeks prior to a diagnosis. This involves consuming a minimum equivalent of four slices of bread for adults and two slices of bread for children per day. By undertaking this test, test results will be more reliable compared to someone who has commenced a gluten free diet prior to diagnosis.
2. Blood Tests : A blood test will be undertaken to screen for coeliac disease. The diagnosis of coeliac disease should not be made with a blood test alone.
3. A small bowel biopsy: A small bowel biopsy is essential to confirm a Coeliac disease diagnosis. This procedure demonstrates the changes to the bowel which can be difficult to observe with the naked eye.
If the diagnosis of coeliac disease is ruled out after these tests, then other causes of these symptoms will be investigated by your doctor.
Living With Coeliac Disease
Coeliac disease can be controlled by adhering to a strict gluten-free diet.
Visit www.coeliac.org.au/living-with-coeliac-disease/ for more information on living with Coeliac disease.
If you or someone you know thinks they may have Coeliac disease, it is recommended that they see their GP.
Book an appointment at Health Hub Doctors online via www.healthhubdoctorsmorayfield.com.au/book-online or call 5322 4900
For more information on Coeliac Disease, please visit www.coeliac.org.au