What is Coeliac Disease?

Coeliac disease is one of the less-used terms for what is essentially an extreme form of gluten intolerance. Gluten is a protein found in some grains like wheat, barley and rye. In some people gluten causes damage to the intestines which can result in the inability to absorb nutrients and can, in some severe instances, lead to death. In this article we’ll cover the basics of this disease, some other names that it’s known by, the common symptoms along with the diet that is generally recommended for treatment.

What’s in a Name?
Coeliac disease is just one of the names given to the condition where the intestines are damaged by gluten. Other names that are often used in conjunction with this condition are celiac disease, gluten intolerance, coeliac sprue, endemic sprue, gluten enteropathy or gluten-sensitive enteropothy. All of these terms essentially mean the same thing – damage to the intestines by gluten.

Coeliac Disease Symptoms
The symptoms of coeliac disease vary widely, but there are some common themes. Depending on the severity of the disease, patients report some or all of the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Bloating
  • Lethargy
  • Inability to Concentrate
  • Weight Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Cramping
  • Moodiness

Some people with coeliac disease have very few symptoms. If you think you may have coeliac disease, or find that you have side effects any time you consume wheat, rye or barley products, make an appointment with your doctor. There are some simple blood tests that can be done. If warranted your doctor can also perform a straightforward intestinal biopsy.  With your physician’s help you can get started immediately on a treatment program designed specifically for you.

Recommended Coeliac Disease Diet
The primary treatment recommended for patients suffering from coeliac disease is to adopt a strict gluten-free diet.  After adhering to the diet for 6 months, patients are reevaluated. Generally people find that the majority of their symptoms disappear after a few months of following a gluten-free lifestyle. What exactly is a gluten-free diet? Gluten is found in any products that contain wheat, rye, barley or other grains that were manufactured alongside gluten containing grains. By avoiding these grains by substituting other products like rice flour and corn coeliac disease can be well managed.

If you notice that you have a gluten sensitivity, consult with your physician. While a gluten-free diet may sound difficult to maintain, the health benefits are well worth it. With the introduction of a wide variety of gluten-free products you can still enjoy favorites like spaghetti, waffles and muffins. Gluten-free living can be tasty and satisfying – and contribute to a life of happiness and well-being.