What is Coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease. It is caused by our immune system reacting to gluten.
How common is coeliac disease?
It is very common and affects around one in 100 people. Only 24% of people who have the condition have been diagnosed this means there are currently nearly half a million people who have Coeliac disease but do not know they have it. If a family member (for example your mother, father, sister or brother) have Coeliac disease then you have a one in 10 chance of having it yourself.
What is the cause?
It is caused by a reaction from the immune system to gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye) if you have Coeliac disease and you eat gluten your immune system will react by damaging the lining of the small intestine.
What are the symptoms?
Your symptoms can range from mild to severe, this can include and is not limited to; bloating, diarrhoea, nausea/sickness, smelly gas, constipation, tiredness, persistent mouth ulcers, sudden or unexpected weight loss or weight gain, hair loss and anaemia, brain fog, memory loss, muddling up words, extreme fatigue and even depression.
What is the treatment?
There is only one treatment for Coeliac disease that is a gluten free diet. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye, and some people are also sensitive to oats. Once you have removed gluten from your diet, you should start to feeling a lot better.
What is Dermatitis herpetiformis?
Dermatitis herpetiformis also known as DH, is a skin disorder directly due to Coeliac disease, it occurs as a rash that commonly appears on the elbows, knees, shoulders, buttocks and face, usually there are raised red, patches but more often there can also be blisters. Dermatitis herpetiformis affects around one in 3,300 people.