What is Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac disease is a digestive condition where a person is intolerant to gluten. Coeliac disease is an auto-immune disease where the immune system attacks itself, damaging the lining of the small intestine.
Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye, and foods like pasta, cakes, breakfast cereals and most types of bread. Coeliac disease stops the body properly absorbing nutrients.
How common is Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac disease is a common condition that affects around one in every 100 people in the UK, of all ages. Women are two to three times more likely to suffer from the disease.
It is thought that over half of cases of coeliac disease is misdiagnosed as other conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
What are the symptoms of Coeliac Disease?
People with silent coeliac disease will have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. Sufferers of minor coeliac disease will experience a wide range of often intermittent symptoms, such as indigestion, mild stomach pain, bloating, changes in bowel habit, anaemia, loss of appetite, weight loss, tinging in the hands and some loss of hair.
People with major coeliac disease will suffer the above symptoms, and also diarrhoea, stomach cramps, muscle spasms, and swelling of your hands and feet.
How is Coeliac Disease treated?
Coeliac disease is often treated with a gluten free diet. Other treatments include vaccinations against other illnesses, supplements and medication for side effects.
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