What Is Coeliac Disease?

The Crossed Grain Symbol is shown on foods that are gluten-free. Use of the symbol by food manufacturers is licensed by Coeliac UK. Other countries have similar logos where wheat grains are striked.

This description has been taken from http://www.coeliac.org.uk purely to inform readers. I do not take credit for any of the information on this page about coeliac disease and should you need further advice or medical help please either go to your GP or the above website. Coeliac UK is a licensed company in the UK that regularly checks gluten free foods and informs patients diagnosed with coeliac disease where they can go for help.

Coeliac disease (pronounced see-liac, spelt celiac disease in other countries) is not an allergy or simple food intolerance. In fact it’s an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. Gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye triggers an immune reaction in people with coeliac disease. This means that eating gluten damages the lining of the small intestine. Other parts of the body may be affected.  A few people are also sensitive to oats.

 What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of coeliac disease (spelt celiacin America) vary from person to person and can range from very mild to severe. Possible symptoms may include:

  • diarrhoea, excessive wind, and/or constipation
  • persistent or unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting
  • recurrent stomach pain, cramping or bloating
  • any combination of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency
  • tiredness and/or headaches
  • weight loss (but not in all cases)
  • mouth ulcers
  • hair loss (alopecia)
  • skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis (DH))
  • tooth enamel problems
  • osteoporosis
  • depression
  • infertility
  • repeated miscarriages
  • joint and/or bone pain
  • neurological (nerve) problems such as ataxia (poor muscle co-ordination) and neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet).

Common confusion

Some symptoms may be mistaken as Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or wheat intolerance. Stress or getting older can also be a cause of confusion. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be underweight or have lost weight to have coeliac disease. Most people are of normal weight or even overweight at diagnosis.

What about children?

In babies, symptoms may develop after weaning onto cereals which contain gluten. Other symptoms in young children include:

  • muscle wasting in the arms and legs
  • bloated tummy
  • irritability
  • failure to gain weight or lose weight after previously growing well

Symptoms in older children vary as they do in adults.

What should I do if I think I have coeliac disease?

If you think you or your child has coeliac disease, you must keep eating gluten and speak to your/their GP for advice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.