Dates for your diary: Coeliac UK Awareness Week 2022 - 9th-15th May.
This year Coeliac Awareness Week runs from the 9th to the 15th May.
's mission is to raise awareness of this serious autoimmune disease that affects 1 in 100 people.
Coeliac Disease ('Celiac' in the USA and Canada) is a lifelong autoimmune condition, where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. In Coeliac Disease the immune system mistakes substances found inside gluten as a threat to the body and attacks them. This can trigger a number of painful, horrible, stressful and uncomfortable symptoms.
Living a gluten free life
Having suffered from a range of symptoms for around ten years I finally received a positive diagnosis of Coeliac Disease following some 'interesting' and in-depth tests and procedures in 2008. It came as a relief to finally have a name for the mysterious cause of my illnesses and ailments, but at the time I was only given a brief summary and told that I'd have to "cut down on bread and beer". It was only later when I met with a Gastroenterologist and a dietitian that I found out that the only treatment for people with Coeliac Disease is a strict, life-long gluten free diet.
While having a life-long condition such as Coeliac Disease can be a pain - and horrible if I 'get glutened' - having the disease has had some positives. I've met great people since my diagnosis and have made some brilliant friends who I've met through Coeliac groups. I've also blogged a lot about living with the condition and the great 'free from' food & drink I've found since 2008.
Key Facts about Coeliac Disease
- Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition, not an allergy.
- If a close relative (e.g. parent) is diagnosed, your chance of having it is 1 in 10.
- Many people can now be diagnosed with two blood tests.
- Gluten must remain in the diet until diagnosis.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Anyone with symptoms should go to isitcoeliacdisease.org.uk to see if they should be tested.
Symptoms may include:
- Severe or occasional diarrhoea, excessive wind and/or constipation.
- Persistent or unexplained nausea and vomiting.
- Recurrent stomach pain, cramping or bloating.
- Any combination of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency.
- Sudden or unexpected weight loss (but not in all cases).
- Mouth ulcers.
- Skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis).
- Tooth enamel problems.
- Liver abnormalities.
- Unexplained subfertility.
- Repeated miscarriages.
- Neurological (nerve) problems such as Ataxia (loss of coordination, poor balance and peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet).
About Coeliac UK
Coeliac UK is the national charity for everyone who needs to live gluten free. It's work began in 1968 and it is a totally independent organisation with no government funding.
Coeliac UK strives for better diagnosis, care and treatment, plus safer gluten free food in more places.