What is Coeliac Disease?

Coeliac Disease

As you might already know from another blog post I did where I briefly mentioned that I couldn’t eat certain things, I have coeliac disease. For those who don’t already know, coeliac is ‘a disease in which the small intestine is hypersensitive to gluten, leading to difficulty in digesting food.’ I wanted to make this post because coeliac is a very common condition, but most people don’t actually know that they have it. In just the UK alone, 1 in 100 people have coeliac. It is an autoimmune condition. This is where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue and it mistakes gluten as a threat to the body.

If you have it, there is no way of getting rid of it. The disease causes damage to the cells in the gut. If you leave it untreated, it can lead to other autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, and cancer.

In simpler terms, you cannot consume any wheat/gluten without experiencing some or all of the following symptoms.

Coeliac Disease Symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Sickness and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain/cramps
  • Bloating

There are so many symptoms that I could go on forever. I reccommed looking at this website – http://www.recognizingceliacdisease.com/21.html because they have a list of over 300 signs, symptoms, associated disorders and complications directly or indirectly resulting from coeliac disease. I’m not saying that if you have something on that list then you automatically have coeliac, because that is very unlikely. What I am saying is that just looking at the list can show you how coeliac can affect the lives of those who have it and the people around them.

If you have some of these symptoms or think that you have coeliac, then you should contact your GP. All you need do do is request a blood test which will come back either positive or negative. Note that you should eat foods containing gluten for at least 6 weeks before the blood test. This is because if you do not consume gluten products, it will not show up in a blood test and the damaged cells will have started to heal. Some doctors may not tell you this, but you need to do, or the blood test will come back negative even if you do have coeliac.

If you do all of the above and the test still comes back negative, but you still have symptoms, then you could still have a gluten intolerance, which means that your body still reacts to foods that contain gluten. If in doubt, go and see your GP.