10 May Over 75% Coeliac disease sufferers are undiagnosed
Studies show that Coeliac disease in the UK has increased four-fold in the years between 1990 and 2011. Diagnosis is improving, however research suggests that an estimated 76% of people suffering still don’t know! Coeliac disease is a serious autoimmune condition that if left untreated can lead to infertility, osteoporosis and bowel cancer.
Coeliac disease could affect 1% of UK population
According to Coeliac UK, it is estimated that 1 in 100 people in the UK suffer from this condition.
In the past two decades there has been a noted increase in the number of diagnosed cases. Scientists and gastroenterologists are still trying to fully understand the reasons behind this sharp rise, although it is likely to be due to better testing and greater awareness of personal health and diet.
A 2014 study undertaken by the University of Nottingham, showed a four-fold increase between 1999 and 2011, with diagnosed cases in the UK per 100,000 people, rising from 5.2 to 19.1 in the time period.
Coeliac UK suggests though that three quarters of people with Coeliac disease symptoms remain undiagnosed. Combined with research from previous studies this means 1% of the population could test positive for this condition.
Could you be suffering from Coeliac disease?
What are the symptoms of Coeliac disease? What causes some people to double over in pain when eating certain foods?
Some people choose to take a gluten free diet, often due to misleading information in the media that gluten is bad for everyone.
Coeliac disease is a serious, lifelong autoimmune disease, where your immune system reacts to the gluten protein found in wheat, barley and rye, by attacking the small intestine.
Some people also have the same affect eating oats, but this is less common.
Symptoms of Coeliac disease can include:
- Stomach pain
- Frequent mouth ulcers
- Sudden or unexpected weight loss (but not in all cases)
- Hair loss and anaemia (in some cases)
Coeliac disease is not a food allergy or intolerance. Although, without the correct diagnosis from a gastroenterologist it is common for people to think that certain foods could just be causing digestive discomfort.
The damage caused by Coeliac Disease to the lining of the gut, means that the body can not absorb nutrients properly from other food. Ignored over the longer-term, without diagnosis, can have serious effects.
Coeliac Awareness Week
The 8th to 14th of May 2017 is Coeliac Awareness Week.
This year the theme is “The Gluten Freevolution”. Because there is currently no cure for Coeliac disease, only a gluten-free diet, charities and other organisations such as Coeliac UK, are campaigning for better quality gluten-free products, in the shops and when eating-out.
Awareness is the key to encouraging more people to come forward to seek formal diagnosis and dietary advice.
With a gluten-free diet, Coeliacs generally feel much better, very quickly. However, with lowering gluten it is important to not eliminate other important food groups, such as fibre. Special dietary advice is always recommended after diagnosis.
FOR HELP AND GUIDANCE ON DIGESTIVE DISORDERS AND TREATMENT FROM AN EXPERIENCED GASTROENTEROLOGIST, CONTACT DR ANTON BUNGAY.