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Wilmslow, Cheshire & Central Manchester

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Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease is an immune system driven condition located in the small intestine which is triggered by the ingestion of gluten.  In addition to wheat other foods with similar proteins may have to be avoided such as secalin found in rye and avenin found in oats.

While many people carry the genes which appear to increase the risk of developing coeliac genes alone are not diagnostic.  Even though 92-95% of coeliacs have the HLA-DQ2 gene only 2% of the general population with this gene will actually then go on to develop coeliac disease.  As is often said, the genes may load the gun but it’s the environment that pull the trigger.

It’s incidence has risen over 400% since the 1940s and may be attributed to a combination of;

  • Changes in infant feeding practices
  • Shortened duration of breastfeeding
  • Introduction of gluten before 4 months of age (this has 500% increased risk of developing the conditions)
  • Increased frequency of C-section births
  • Alterations in GIT microflora
Wheat and gluten

It was commonly thought that the condition raised its head in early years and was commonly found in infants but we now see that cealiac disease can develop at any age.  Typical symptoms can be chronic diarrhoea, weight loss and abdominal pain.  However, other more atypical ones also present such anaemia, constipation, abnormal liver function tests, low bone mass, oesophageal reflux and reflux some of which can results from the poor absorption of nutrients due to a damaged small intestinal lining.

Due to it’s increasing prevalence, the high amount of gluten typically consumed in the western diet as well as the consequences of long-term gluten exposure if coeliac this something I routinely test as to rule.

 

Already removed gluten but don’t feel much better?

Maybe you’ve already been diagnosed with coeliac and have been on a gluten free diet for a few months and only feel 30% better.  This can be due to a few things.

Coeliac disease isn’t the only issue.  Further investigation into dysbiosis (an imbalance gut bacteria) can be helpful here.

Mucosal damage.  Often there’s been a number of years from onset of symptoms to diagnosis of coeliac which means lining of the small intestine (the mucosa) will have been damaged.  While this repairs over time (in some cases this can take up to 2 years) there are ways to speed up and support this recovery and healing process.

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