Coeliac Disease

What is COeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is an immune disease which is caused by gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats). Symptoms can range from mild to acute, which can make this condition difficult to diagnose. There is a genetic link to coeliac disease and it can develop at any stage in life. 

If you have coeliac disease, damage to the small intestine can result, even if no symptoms are experienced. Treatment of coeliac disease is long-term and strict elimination of dietary gluten helps to heal the small bowel. It is important to note that a gluten free diet should not be commenced prior to diagnosis. Interestingly, Coeliac Australia reveals that approximately one in 70 Australians have coeliac disease but 80% of these don’t know they have this condition.

There are a number of conditions associated with coeliac disease. Hence, an awareness of these conditions is important in the screening, diagnosis and treatment process. Coeliac disease may affect the glands (e.g. thyroid), joints (e.g. lupus), blood (e.g. anaemia), gastrointestinal system (e.g. lactose intolerance), bones (e.g. osteoporosis) and liver (e.g. abnormal liver function tests).

What are the symptoms of Coeliac Disease?

- Iron deficiency anaemia and other nutrient deficiencies
- Depression
- Poor oral hygiene
- Gastrointestinal symptoms e.g. bloating, cramps and abdominal pain
- Osteoporosis
- Autoimmune diseases e.g. type 1 diabetes or thyroid disease
- Weight loss
- Unexplained infertility
- Recurrent miscarriage/s

how can I help?
I will firstly help you to understand the diagnosis criteria for coeliac disease including blood tests, small bowel biopsy and gene testing. Following this, I will explain the numerous medical conditions associated with coeliac disease, as well as the short-term and long-term complications. Focus will also be given to correcting any present nutrient deficiencies and preventing these from resurfacing in the future.

To further your understanding I will discuss dietary gluten sources and suggest gluten free alternatives. I may be able to identify gluten free food sources that you may have been unaware of. In addition, I can help with label reading and provide gluten free recipes and shopping guides to help when preparing and cooking meals. I will also direct you to Coeliac Australia, as well as inform you about the annual Gluten Free Expo.

Book an appointment to learn more about how a qualified dietitian can help you manage coeliac disease.
- Coeliac Australia
- Better Health Channel

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