Coeliac Disease

Did you know:

  • 1 in 5 people identify as gluten intolerant/sensitive, or coeliac.
  • 1 in 70 people have coeliac disease, but 80% of these are undiagnosed.

What is Coeliac Disease?

Gluten, latin for glue, is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats. It is the specific amino acid sequences of the proteins in these grains that cause a reaction in people with coeliac disease.

The disease presents as an abnormal immune response to gluten, causing small bowel damage. The villi in the bowel become flattened and inflamed, reducing surface area available for nutrient absorption. This can lead to various gastrointestinal and malabsorptive symptoms. Individuals can have different symptomatic responses, such as stomach disturbances, wind, bloating, lethargy, mood disturbances and can be a serious issue.

The challenge

Not only do people with coeliac disease need to understand and idenitify which products and foods are gluten free, hidden gluten provides a great difficulty when purchasing food products, medications, supplements and finding gluten free meals when dining out. Gluten is often used as a cost effective and efficient binding agent across many products. Compounding the issue of gluten being used in products that wouldn’t naturally contain it is the prevalence of cross contamination. Gluten free alternatives, such as buckwheat, amaranth, and millet, can easily be contaminated with gluten at any point from the farm, to processing procedures, or to food preparation.

Living a gluten free life is not as simple as many may think and education, information and public awareness is essential.

Where to find help

The following is a list of useful resources we have put together to help people start their journey towards living a gluten free life and finding support.

If you know of great Coeliac resources that should be added to this list then please let us know.


Coeliac Australia is a not for profit, national federated organisation that provides a wide range of information and support for those living with coeliac disease, friends and family, health professionals, or general public interested in finding out more about the disease. They include a list of their own links to additional helpful sites.

http://www.coeliac.org.au/coeliac-disease/

The ACT/NSW chapter covering the Canberra area can be found here:

http://nswact.coeliac.org.au/ and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Coeliac-NSW-and-ACT-100567216733057/

 

Health Direct is a government based initiative, targeted at helping individuals find health professionals and medical support, it also provides some limited information regarding various medical conditions, including coeliac disease.

http://www.healthdirect.gov.au/coeliac-disease

 

Although not Canberra or ACT/NSW based, the Better Health Channel is an excellent Victorian State program that provides quick and easy summaries and overviews to all things health, coeliac disease included. They include a good list to additional helpful sites. 

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/coeliac-disease-and-gluten-sensitivity

 

Author:

Aaron Adams

Nutritionist at Let's Be Natural