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16 Apr 2019

Coeliac Awareness Week takes place between 13 – 19 May and the charity Coeliac UK is focusing on diagnosis so that more people ask themselves, ‘Is it coeliac disease?’

They've asked us to spread the word to help them reach people who might not know they have coeliac disease as symptoms are often ascribed to Irritable Bowel Syndrome when in fact they are the result of gluten intolerance.

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues when gluten is eaten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. Food that typically contains gluten includes breads, biscuits, pasta, pastry, breakfast cereals and cakes.

If you have Coeliac Disease, symptoms you may suffer after eating food containing gluten include diarrhoea, stomach pains and lethargy. However the symptoms vary from person to person, can range from very mild to severe and may last from a few hours to a few days. The reaction is not the same as an allergic reaction and does not cause anaphylactic shock

Possible symptoms:

severe or occasional diarrhoea, excessive wind and/or constipation

persistent or unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting

recurrent stomach pain, cramping or bloating

any combination of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency


tiredness sudden or unexpected weight loss (but not in all cases)

mouth ulcers

skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)

tooth enamel problems


liver abnormalities

repeated miscarriages

neurological (nerve) problems such as ataxia (loss of coordination, poor balance) and peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet)

A simple online assessment on the Coeliac UK website can tell you whether you should be tested for coeliac disease. It's a short 3 minute questionnaire which will give you a yes or no result. You can then take this to your GP. The aim is to get more people to their GP and help get them diagnosed so they can start receiving the support they need.

Take the assessment here

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