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Coeliac Disease

Description

Coeliac Disease is a condition caused by an inability to digest gluten. Gluten is found in a number of products such as bread, pasta, pizza, pâtés and sausages. The inability to digest gluten often results in bowel movement irregularities, weight loss or failure to gain weight, and lack of certain vitamins and minerals with consequential problems such as anaemia and osteoporosis.

Symptoms of coeliac disease include:
Diarrhoea,
Bulky, smelly stools,
Weight loss,
Failure to grow and put on weight in children,
Swollen or bloated belly.

Children with coeliac disease may eat a lot, but not gain weight and may lose weight. People with coeliac disease may also develop problems associated with poor absorption of iron and vitamins i.e. anaemia, which leads to general tiredness and sometimes shortness of breath and fluid retention.

Coelic disease may cause problems in the bones by reducing the absorption of calcium and vitamin D from food. This may cause osteoporosis.

Coeliac disease is caused by a genetic pre-disposition that results in the sub-sections of the proteins found in wheat, gluten, gliadin and modified starch, becoming toxic to the lining of the gut.

The doctor will mostly likely be able to diagnose coeliac disease by taking a special blood test, which, if abnormal, will be followed up with a biopsy taken from the lining of the duodenum.

Treating coeliac disease is relatively simple and involves excluding gluten from your diet. However, carrying this out is somewhat harder than it first seems though most foods are marked if they are gluten free.

Many gluten-free foods are available on NHS prescription and can be obtained from this pharmacy.

Our Advice
  • You should consult your GP for diagnosis if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above.
  • Eliminating gluten which is found in bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries, pasta and cereals as well as a vast number of other foods will help.
  • Gluten-free foods are available on prescription.