What is Coeliac Disease
Coeliac Disease is an auto-immune condition that damages the villi in the small intestine causing the body to have difficulty absorbing the nutrients from food. The good news, is that with the correct diagnosis and by following a strict gluten-free diet damage to villi can be repaired.
Get Tested First
From irritable bowel to coeliac disease and everything in between, there are plenty of reasons for adopting a gluten-free diet. Before you swear off gluten for life, it’s really important to see your GP and ask to be tested for coeliac disease. If you don’t and your doctor later suspects coeliac disease to be the cause of your tummy issues you will need to start eating gluten for the test to be accurate. And we’re not talking a piece of toast either. If you’re reintroducing gluten to your diet you would need four serves a day for six weeks for an accurate test result. Yuk! For more information on how to be correctly diagnosed visit www.coeliac.org.au/diagnosis
Coeliac Disease Is Under Diagnosed
With the gluten-free aisle at your local supermarket growing by the minute and restaurants all over the country adding GF to their menus it might surprise you to learn that coeliac disease is one of the most under-diagnosed conditions in Australia. According to the Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA) only 25% of coeliac disease sufferers have been diagnosed. They estimate around 160,000 Australians are living with coeliac disease but don’t know it.
Who Gets Coeliac Disease
While coeliac disease can affect men and women, young and old, sufferers are born with a genetic predisposition to develop coeliac disease. There are two genes (HLA DQ2 and HLA DQ 8) that are linked with coeliac disease and one or both of these genes are present in almost every person diagnosed. According to the Coeliac Australia 30% of the population carry one or both of the genes, however from this group only 1 in every 30 will go on to actually develop coeliac disease.
Kids and Coeliac Disease
According to the Children’s Hospital in Westmead NSW, coeliac disease rarely occurs in children before they turn one. This is because solids (including those containing gluten) are typically not introduced into the diet until six months of age.