Coeliac Awareness Week
9th to 15th May 2016 is Coeliac Awareness Week, if you didn’t already know about coeliac then we’re here to help! We have a wide range of gluten-free products helping you to eat better if you have gluten intolerance problems. During Coeliac Awareness Week we will be offering 20% off all gluten free foods.
What is Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac (sometimes spelt celiac) disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease which is caused by a person’s immune system reacting to gluten, a protein in rye, barley and wheat. When a person with coeliac disease eats something containing gluten their immune system damages the lining of the small intestine. The small intestine is located between the stomach and the large intestine/colon. A healthy small intestine is filled with villi, which lets the body absorb nutrients from food and into the blood. However, if the person has coeliac disease the villi will become flatter and will make it more difficult to absorb nutrients if gluten is eaten.
Why do we need this Coeliac Awareness Week?
According to research at University of Nottingham “Only 24% of people estimated to have coeliac disease have been diagnosed.” If coeliac disease is left untreated it can cause other complications. The villi can end up inflamed and/or flattened together, they can also sometimes disappear which is called ‘villous atrophy’. If the gut becomes too damaged from this the body struggles to absorb nutrients from food properly, at this point it’s called ‘malabsorption’. The way someones body reacts to gluten can affect other areas of the body too, it can cause anaemia, osteoporosis and a rash of the skin called dermatitis herpetiformis.
Awareness week will hopefully spread the awareness of coeliac and lead to more undiagnosed people being diagnosed and helped before too much damage is done.
What are the causes and symptoms?
People with coeliac disease have certain genes that may increase how likely they are to develop the disease but little is known about why certain people have these particular genes. Symptoms can vary from person to person and when gluten is eaten symptoms can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days. There can also be a wide variety of symptoms, which can range from mild to severe, coeliac disease is a ‘multi system’ disorder as it can affect many areas of the body. Some possible symptoms include:
- Recurring stomach pain, bloating or cramping
- Skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
- Liver Abnormalities
- Severe or occasional diarrhoea, excessive wind or/and constipation
There are many more symptoms than the ones listed above but these are just a few for example. There are other symptoms to look for if you suspect a baby or young child may have coeliac disease.
You will eventually have a gluten free diet if you are diagnosed with coeliac disease. There are many different things you can do to still have a great and tasty diet without gluten. The first step would be learning which foods are naturally gluten free, a few examples are:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Plain Meats
You can also buy gluten free food from some shops, some supermarkets stock it, online and here at Ethical Superstore we stock plenty of gluten free food for you to try! Here are a few examples:
To help spread awareness during Coeliac Awareness Week we will be adding discounts to many of our gluten free products. Have you or someone you know had experience with coeliac disease?