What is coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is not a food allergy or intolerance.  It is an auto-immune condition which occurs in people who become sensitive to the protein gluten.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Eating foods containing gluten has a life-long damaging effect on the bowel.
The treatment for coeliac disease is a gluten-free diet for life.

Who is affected by coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease was once considered a rare condition of childhood.
However, doctors are now diagnosing more people later in life.

Does coeliac disease run in families?
Research has established that there is a genetic link to coeliac disease. One in ten relatives of a person diagnosed with coeliac disease may also be affected, so family screening is recommended.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis
Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is a skin condition linked to coeliac disease. It affects around 1 in 10,000 people. The treatment for DH is to follow a strict gluten-free diet.  If you suspect you may have the symptoms of this condition please seek medical advice before starting a gluten-free diet.

Coeliac disease is closely associated with other medical conditions such as:

Type 1 Diabetes
Downs Syndrome
Thyroid Disease
Liver Disease

If you are concerned about any of these related conditions please seek medical advice.