Coeliac disease is a common digestive condition where a person has an adverse reaction to gluten. It is also known as celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy and is a digestive and autoimmune disorder that results in damage to the lining of the small intestine when foods with gluten are eaten
Treating coeliac disease
There is no cure for coeliac disease. Switching to a gluten-free diet should help control symptoms and prevent long term consequences of the disease.The gluten-free diet is a lifetime requirement. Eating any gluten, no matter how small an amount, can damage the intestine.
Even if symptoms are mild or non-existent it is still recommended to change your diet, as continuing to eat gluten can lead to serious complications. For many sufferers, this is all that is needed to control symptoms, heal existing intestinal damage and further prevent damage. Improvements can begin within days of starting the gluten free diet and the small intestine is often completely healed within 3 to 6 months for those on a strict diet.
There are plenty of foods that are naturally gluten-free, including fruits, vegetables, beef, poultry, fish, nuts, eggs and more. A growing number of foods are being developed by manufacturers to answer consumers' increasing interest in gluten-free products.
The importance of maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.
It is important to make sure your gluten-free diet is healthy and balanced. An increase in the range of available gluten-free foods in recent years has made it possible to eat both a healthy and varied gluten-free diet.
However, managing celiac disease is not just about eliminating gluten from your diet. It also means making sure you get all the vitamins and nutrients you need — particularly iron, calcium, fiber and the B-vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate—and watching weight gain. Weight gain can be a side effect for people with celiac disease once they start following a gluten-free diet. This is because the body is absorbing more nutrients and calories from food.
A proportion of people with coeliac disease do not improve on the gluten-free diet and need to receive nutritional supplements. Supplementary vitamins, minerals, especially iron, are given according to the deficiency. While mild cases of coeliac disease may not require any supplementation, severe cases require comprehensive intravenous replacement.