The Coeliac Society has warned that even a crumb of gluten can make someone with Coeliac disease ill, and that around 500,000 people in the UK have the disease and don’t know it, around 85% of sufferers.
This information has been released to coincide with Coeliac Awareness Week (12-18th May) and other points are:-
o Average time from onset to diagnosis is thirteen years
o 1 in 100 people have the disease, with this figure rising to 1 in 10 for close family members. And 1 in 4 sufferers were originally diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
o Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, and therefore in breads, cakes, biscuits, breakfast cereals, pastas and flours, but also in lots of manufactured foods such as fish fingers, sausages, gravies and sauces.
o The disease is serious and can lead, if undiagnosed, to infertility, osteoporosis and small bowel cancer. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, anaemia, diarrhoea, constipation, mouth ulcers, depression and joint or bone pain.
o In sufferers the gluten reacts with the body’s immune system and causes the body to attack itself There is no cure and no medication – the only treatment is a strict gluten-free diet for life.