8 - 14th May - Coeliac Disease Awareness Week
While awareness of coeliac disease and the gluten-free diet is growing, there is still low awareness of the symptoms.
The Greeks first described this disease in the 2nd Century AD and they called it Koiliakos Disease which means suffering in the bowels. Today the disease is called Coeliac Disease, which is derived from the Greek word Koiliakos.
Coeliac Disease and being allergic to Gluten are similar allergies but not exactly the same. Coeliac disease is a hereditary allergy to gluten that caused damage to the intestinal lining of the small intestine. Gluten allergy does not damage the small intestines but cause many of the same symptoms as Coeliac disease.
Gluten contains a protein that is found in most grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and to a lesser extent oats. When the grains are ground into flower the gluten is what gives the final baked products its strength and elasticity. Without gluten bread is heavy and dense. Depending on the type of grain being tested, different
quantities of the gluten protein are found in different grains.
Allergic to gluten symptoms include abdominal cramps, vomiting, irritable bowel, weight loss, diarrhea,
constipation. Blood tests can be used to determine if you have an allergy to gluten or if it is possible that you have Coeliac disease. A biopsy of the small intestine is the only way to successfully diagnose Coeliac disease.
Once a confirmed diagnosis is made for a gluten allergy or for Coeliac disease then the patient must change to a glutten free diet. For the Coeliac disease sufferes, this gluten free diet is for life. There is no cure for Coeliac disease.
Avoidance of gluten-containing foods is the only effective treatment for people who are allergic. Avoidance can be very difficult because gluten protein is often hidden in other foods. Read the label of every food products that comes into your home.
Avoid any food products that have wheat, bran, bread crumbs, cereal extract, natural flavouring, starch,
vegetable gum, soy sauce, gluten, or enriched flower on the label until you know if that particular item will give you an allergic reaction