In the spirit of Coeliac Awareness Week, we thought we’d share our knowledge on the common disease. Up to half a million people are living with symptoms of undiagnosed coeliac disease and not knowing what's wrong.
What is coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease is not a food allergy or an intolerance, it's an autoimmune syndrome caused by the immune system reacting to gluten and affects over 600,00 people in the UK*. When someone with the disease eats gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye) the immune system reacts by attacking the lining of the small intestine.
* Source: Coeliac UK
What to look out for
There is a range of symptoms of coeliac disease and they vary in severity. That means that it can be tricky to spot and the symptoms can be attributed to a number of other conditions. As a rule of thumb though, watch out for the following symptoms and keep an eye on any foods that might be triggering them:
- Mouth ulcers
- Unaccounted for weight loss
- Hair loss
- Itchy skin or a rash – this is sometimes linked to a secondary condition called dermatitis herpetiformis which affects around one in five coeliac disease sufferers.