Coeliac disease (also known as celiac disease in some countries) is a digestive condition where a person is allergic or intolerant to gluten. Some of the more common symptoms a person with coeliac disease may experience if they are exposed to gluten are:
- abdominal pain
- weight loss
In children there may also be a failure to grow at the expected rate.
Coeliac disease is essentially an auto-immune disease. When people with coeliac disease eat gluten damage is caused to the lining of the small intestine, which in turn stops the body properly absorbing nutrients. The symptoms of coeliac disease can range from very mild to severe.
Whilst there is no cure for coeliac disease, a person can lead a normal life as long as they stick to a strict gluten-free diet. The main food ingredients that people with coeliac disease must avoid are wheat, rye, oats and barley and any of their derivatives.
People who are diagnosed with coeliac disease may be eligible to get certain foods on prescription thru the NHS. For more information about coeliac disease or a gluten-free diet please see visit Coeliac UK, NHS or see your doctor.