Coeliac Awareness Week 2014

12 May

This week is Coeliac Awareness week, an event which run annually by Coeliac UK to help raise awareness of Coeliac Disease.  As many of you know I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in 2011, and I now spend much of my time spreading the word and trying to help fellow coeliacs.  The disease affects an estimated 1 in 100 people in the UK according to Coeliac UK.  However only around 15% of this number have been properly diagnosed.  That means a massive 85% of those with coeliac disease are still being made ill, with the long term risk of osteoporosis or even bowel cancer remaining without treatment.

When a coeliac ingests gluten, an autoimmune response will cause the body to attack the lining of the small intestine.  This leads to damage to the villi (small finger like projections lining the gut).  These are flattened reducing the surface area of the gut, preventing food and nutrients from being properly absorbed.  This can lead to malnourishment and anaemia.  There is currently no medical cure for the disease, and the only treatment is a lifetime gluten free diet.  This means strict avoidance of wheat, rye and barley.

Gluten is commonly found in foods such as pasta, bread, cakes, biscuits, pizza, pastry and flour.  Food is not the only issue, as many drinks such as beer and cheep cola’s can also contain gluten.  Other symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bloating, headaches, joint pain and fatigue.  Coeliac disease is also a hereditary condition, so if you have a family member with coeliac disease you are at an increased risk.  Many patients are also incorrectly diagnosed with IBS.  So does this sound like you?  Make sure you see your GP and get tested.

awarnessweek2014

Coeliac UK are this year running an awareness week campaign to encourage supermarkets to sign up for a “gluten free guarantee”.  The campaign aims to improve availability of gluten free food for coeliacs, and the charity is asking supermarkets to  guarantee the following core items are always stocked: fresh white bread, fresh brown bread, bread rolls, breakfast cereals, pasta, flour, crackers and cereal bars.  You can read more about this campaign and how to get involved here.

For more information on coeliac disease, please take the time to read the story of my diagnosis here.  I would also be really grateful if you could share this post to your Facebook and Twitter feeds to help spread the word.  If you think you could be suffering from Coeliac Disease visit the Coeliac UK website for more information, and above all please visit your doctor and get tested before eliminating gluten from your diet.

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea

3 Responses to “Coeliac Awareness Week 2014”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Coeliac Awareness week – top five #GF reads | talkhealth Blog - May 15, 2014

    […] One of my favourite coeliac bloggers, Gluten Free by the Sea has written this week not just about Coeliac Awareness Week but also his recent experiences taking […]

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    […] it is coeliac awareness week, I thought it would be nice to give a big thank you to some gluten free heroes who have made my […]

  3. Guest Post: A week as a vegetarian coeliac | Gluten Free By The Sea - May 19, 2014

    […] lovely wife Abby went gluten free for Coeliac Awarness Week to show support, here is her guest post on the […]

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