Gill Stannard

Friday, March 13, 2009

Coeliac Awareness Week

This week (13-20 March) is Coeliac Awareness Week.

According to the distributors of a home test kit* for coeliac disease (CD), 200,000 Australians are living with the condition without knowing they have it. Sure they might have some digestive problems, keep getting annoying illnesses, maybe they are anaemic but for some reason they’ve slipped under the diagnostic radar.

Of those who are eventually diagnosed with CD at some point in their adulthood, up to a third considered themselves to be asymptomatic. This goes to show that some people put up with a lot of ‘background noise’ as far as their health is concerned.

CD is an intolerance to gluten, found in our most commonly eaten grains such as wheat, semolina, spelt, barley and rye. Just a speck, from food prepared in the same kitchen as gluten containing foods, or even from a kiss on the lips from someone who may have just eaten it – may be enough to cause the absorptive ‘fingers’ in the bowel to collapse and massively reduce the uptake of vital nutrients.

While some welcome their new diagnosis with open arms, the majority of those who have recently discovered they have CD will go through the stages of grief and stay caught in denial and bargaining for many months. A common experience is the newly diagnosed may stop eating wheat but turn a blind eye to hidden forms of gluten such as malt in most beers, soy sauces and some confectionary. Unfortunately it takes many weeks of being entirely gluten-free for the gut to repair and good health to occur – often for the first time in the person’s life.

More coeliac resources

Health trip program on coeliac and wheat intolerance.

BBC health site.

Gluten-free Melbourne and beyond including recipes

* The Biocard test is available in conjunction with a consultation with Gill Stannard @ City Natural Therapies, (03)9650 3419. If you are booking your appointment specifically to use the Biocard test, please let Gill know at the time of booking to ensure availability of the test.

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