According to Coeliac UK, 1 in 10 of us have coeliac disease, but did you know that only 36% have been diagnosed? This is a real cause for concern because if a person is not aware of their illness, they won’t have the knowledge or resources they need to manage their symptoms, and their condition may worsen over time. With Coeliac UK Awareness Week 2023 on the horizon between the 15th – 21st of May 2023, it is hoped that more people will gain a wider and greater understanding of this potentially life-limiting condition and the importance of following a gluten-free diet.
What is coeliac disease?
It’s an autoimmune digestive disorder that occurs in individuals who are intolerant to gluten, a type of protein found in wheat, barley and rye. When people with coeliac disease consume gluten, their immune system response leads to damage to the lining of the small intestine, which in turn affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. Coeliac disease can result in a range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, weight loss and fatigue.
What can happen if coeliac disease goes untreated?
If the condition is left untreated, it can lead to serious complications such as osteoporosis and an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer (e.g. lymphoma and small bowel cancer). Other associated health conditions include lactose intolerance, type 1 diabetes, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, and neurological conditions. There is also a well-established connection between undiagnosed or untreated coeliac disease and unexplained infertility.
The 2023 awareness campaign is focusing on the fact that coeliac disease is different for everyone and that the range of symptoms may be far broader than many may ever have considered. Symptoms can include mouth ulcers, miscarriage, extreme fatigue, anaemia, neurological symptoms such as ataxia and peripheral neuropathy, frequent bouts of diarrhoea, constipation or hard stools, nausea, feeling sick and vomiting, stomach pain and cramping, lots of gas and bloating and even slow growth in children.
How can a gluten-free diet help?
There is positive news for those suffering from coeliac disease; there is an effective treatment – a gluten-free diet. This involves avoiding all foods containing gluten, including products made from wheat, barley, and rye. For many people with coeliac disease, following a gluten-free diet can significantly reduce symptoms and allow the small intestine to repair itself over time. By adopting a gluten-free, many of the symptoms of this disease can be averted. For example, in terms of infertility risk, according to Coeliac UK, “there is no extra risk of infertility problems for most women with coeliac disease who are following a gluten-free diet”.
At Riverside Foods, we believe strongly that high-quality gluten-free food products should be more widely to those who need them. Our popular range of gluten-free breaded and turkey products are helping those with coeliac disease to live a more normal life.
Riverside is a leading UK supplier of high-quality gluten-free breaded frozen chicken and turkey products. For more details about our gluten-free range, please phone +44 (0) 1691 839288 or complete our contact form.