Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION -

SARAH SLEET Chief ex­ec­u­tive Coeliac UK

COELIAC UK is the na­tional char­ity for peo­ple with coeliac dis­ease and der­mati­tis her­peti­formis.

It is es­ti­mated coeliac dis­ease af­fects one in 100 peo­ple but only around a quar­ter of those with the con­di­tion are cur­rently di­ag­nosed. We are urg­ing your read­ers, in Coeliac UK Aware­ness Week (May 9-15), to ask “is it coeliac dis­ease?” if they are suf­fer­ing from any of these symp­toms – anaemia, stom­ach cramps, nau­sea, vom­it­ing, reg­u­lar bouts of di­ar­rhoea, con­sti­pa­tion, bloat­ing, ongoing fa­tigue, weight loss, or con­stant mouth ul­cers.

If that is you, we en­cour­age you to visit www.isit­coeli­acdis­ and take Coeliac UK’s on­line assess­ment. The assess­ment pro­vides you with a re­sult that you can take to your GP if your re­sponses in­di­cate a need for fur­ther tests.

Since the assess­ment was launched un­der a year ago, over 30,000 peo­ple have taken the ques­tion­naire and from feed­back ini­tial re­sults sug­gest that around 8% of those who were rec­om­mended to seek ad­vice went on to be di­ag­nosed with coeliac dis­ease.

Coeliac dis­ease (pro­nounced seel­iac) is not an al­lergy or an in­tol­er­ance but an au­toim­mune dis­ease, so when peo­ple with coeliac dis­ease eat gluten, a pro­tein found in wheat, bar­ley and rye, the body at­tacks and dam­ages the lin­ing of the gut where food is ab­sorbed, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for the body to get the nutrients it needs.

A lack of di­ag­no­sis means un­pleas­ant symp­toms re­cur­ring on a fre­quent ba­sis which, if left un­treated, can lead to se­ri­ous health prob­lems.

The good news is that coeliac dis­ease is treat­able by switch­ing to a strict gluten-free diet for life.

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