According to Coeliac UK, hundreds of thousands of people in the UK have coeliac disease – 1 in 100 people. But many more people have it and haven’t been diagnosed. Read on to discover more about coeliac disease, its symptoms and how to test for it at home.
What is coeliac disease?
The NHS defines coeliac disease as “a condition where your immune system attacks your own tissues when you eat gluten. This damages your gut (small intestine), so you are unable to take in nutrients.”
Gluten is a protein that is found in barley, rye and wheat. When people with coeliac disease, also known as gluten sensitivity, eat gluten, their body launches an immune response that attacks their small intestine. These attacks damage the small fingerlike projections lining the small intestine that promote nutrient absorption (Villi). When the Villi are damaged, nutrients cannot be adequately absorbed into the body.
Coeliac disease can develop at any age after people start consuming food items containing gluten. Coeliac disease can lead to other more serious health issues if left untreated.
What are the symptoms of coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease has a wide range of symptoms, which can vary in children and adults.
#Adult symptoms of coeliac disease
The most common symptoms for adults include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloating and gas
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight Loss
which are all related to the digestive system.
However, more than 50% of adults who have been diagnosed with coeliac disease also have symptoms that are unrelated to the digestive system, such as:
- Anaemia – usually stemming from iron deficiency.
- Headaches and fatigue
- Itchy, blistery skin rash
- Joint pain
- Loss of bone density or softening of bone
- Mouth ulcers
- Nervous system injury
- Reduce functioning of the spleen
# Children’s symptoms of coeliac disease
The symptoms of coeliac disease in children tend to be more digestive related than those for adults, including:
- Chronic diarrhoea
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pale, foul-smelling stools
- Swollen belly
Coeliac disease can cause children not to be able to absorb nutrients which could result in:
- Damage to tooth enamel
- Delayed puberty
- Failure to thrive
- Neurological symptoms
- Short stature
- Weight loss
How to check for coeliac disease at home
As you can see, there is a wide range of symptoms associated with coeliac disease, which means it cant take some time before an accurate diagnosis is made. It is easy for people to put down some signs of getting older or being stressed, or even think they may have irritable bowel syndrome.
The Test2Go Gluten Sensitivity Test for Coeliac Disease is an easy-to-use test that detects specific IgA anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGA) in the blood – proven biomarkers for coeliac disease.
The benefit of carrying out a gluten sensitivity test like this in the comfort of your own home is that it guarantees you absolute privacy and gives you the potential incentive to manage your health by consulting your doctor and facilitating medical intervention earlier than you may otherwise have done.
You should contact your doctor for further tests and diagnosis if your test result is positive. Do not avoid eating foods with gluten in them in the meantime, as lowering your gluten intake can make diagnosis difficult.