Coeliac Disease

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Coeliac disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestine of genetically susceptible individuals.

 

It is triggered by the ingestion of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When someone with coeliac disease consumes gluten, their immune system attacks the lining of the small intestine, causing damage and inflammation.

This can lead to a range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, weight loss, and fatigue.

Over time, the damage to the small intestine can also lead to malabsorption of nutrients, which can cause nutritional deficiencies and other health problems.

The only treatment for coeliac disease is a strict gluten-free diet, which involves avoiding all foods that contain gluten.

With proper management, most people with coeliac disease can lead healthy, symptom-free lives. 

 

Managing coeliac disease has several benefits, including: 

  1. Improved digestive health: Following a gluten-free diet can help to reduce or eliminate digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.
  2. Improved nutrient absorption: People with coeliac disease often have difficulty absorbing nutrients from food due to damage to the small intestine. Following a gluten-free diet can help to improve nutrient absorption and prevent nutrient deficiencies.
  3. Reduced risk of complications: Untreated coeliac disease can lead to serious complications such as malnutrition, osteoporosis, and an increased risk of certain types of cancer. Managing the disease through a gluten-free diet can help to reduce the risk of these complications.
  4. Improved quality of life: By managing coeliac disease, individuals can enjoy a better quality of life with fewer symptoms and complications.
  5. Increased awareness and support: Managing coeliac disease often involves working closely with healthcare professionals and connecting with support groups, which can help to increase awareness and understanding of the disease.

 

The only treatment for coeliac disease is a strict gluten-free diet.

 

This means avoiding all foods that contain gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats.

This can be challenging as gluten is found in many foods, but there are many gluten-free alternatives available.

In some cases, additional supplements may be necessary to address any deficiencies.

It's also important to avoid cross-contamination with gluten-containing foods, such as using separate utensils and cookware when preparing meals. 

It's important to work with a dietitian or healthcare professional to ensure that you are getting all the necessary nutrients in your diet.

 

People with coeliac disease face a number of challenges, including: 

  1. Avoiding gluten: The most important challenge for people with coeliac disease is to avoid gluten, which is found in many foods, including bread, pasta, cereals, and baked goods.
  2. Cross-contamination: Even small amounts of gluten can cause a reaction in people with coeliac disease, so avoiding cross-contamination is crucial. This means avoiding foods that have come into contact with gluten-containing foods, such as cooking utensils, cutting boards, and toasters.
  3. Limited food options: The gluten-free diet can be restrictive, and it can be challenging to find gluten-free options when eating out or traveling.
  4. Nutritional deficiencies: People with coeliac disease may be at risk of nutritional deficiencies, particularly if they are not following a balanced gluten-free diet.
  5. Social isolation: The gluten-free diet can make socialising and eating out difficult, which can lead to feelings of isolation and exclusion.
  6. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis: Coeliac disease is often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed until later in life, which can lead to years of unnecessary symptoms and health problems.

 

A gluten-free diet for coeliac disease involves avoiding all foods that contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and some other grains.

 

This means that people with coeliac disease must avoid eating bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, and other foods made with wheat, barley, or rye. 

Instead, they can eat foods that are naturally gluten-free, such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and grains like rice, corn, and quinoa. It's important to read food labels carefully to check for hidden sources of gluten, such as in sauces, soups, and processed foods. 

People with coeliac disease may also need to avoid cross-contamination with gluten-containing foods, which can happen if they use the same utensils or cookware as gluten-containing foods. They may need to use separate cooking equipment and be careful when eating out at restaurants. 

Following a gluten-free diet can help people with coeliac disease manage their symptoms and prevent long-term complications. You can download our PDF document below for some expert tips in following a Gluten-free diet. 

It's important to work with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to ensure that the diet is nutritionally balanced and meets individual needs. 

 

It is important to work with a dietitian to develop a personalised treatment plan that meets individual needs and preferences. In some cases, a combination of medication, dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, supplements, and alternative therapies may be necessary to combat/manage the specific condition.

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