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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease is a disorder of the small intestine caused by an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in many grains, such as wheat, barley, oats and rye. People with coeliac disease have an abnormal immune reaction to gluten, which results in damaged gut lining …
What are the symptoms of coeliac disease?
Symptoms of coeliac disease vary between individuals, making diagnosis occasionally difficult. In children, poor growth in weight and height and abdominal discomfort are common. Adults typically experience abdominal discomfort (upset stomach), …
How is coeliac disease diagnosed?
To diagnose coeliac disease, your doctor will perform blood tests to detect certain antibodies that are more common in people with coeliac disease. The diagnosis must be confirmed by taking a biopsy of your intestines. The biopsy is typically taken in a …
How common is coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease is a common autoimmune/digestive disorder, especially among Caucasian (white) Europeans, particularly those of Celtic origin.
What is the difference between coeliac disease and a food allergy?
Coeliac disease is not technically an allergy, but an autoimmune disease.
Does coeliac disease run in the family?
Yes, coeliac disease can be inherited. There are genes that increase the likelihood of an individual developing the condition. However, not everybody with these genes develops coeliac disease. This suggests that there are other factors apart from …
Does coeliac disease lead to cancer?
Research has suggested that a particular type of cancer, known as intestinal lymphoma, is more common in coeliac patients who have not maintained a gluten-free diet. Coeliac disease is not a risk factor for stomach cancer.
How long do I have to stay on a gluten-free diet?
A lifelong gluten-free diet is the only accepted treatment for coeliac disease. Not experiencing symptoms after eating food containing gluten does not mean that it is not harmful for you.
About this article
Author: Karen McCloskey BHSc
First answered: 23 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.0 out of 5
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Category: Coeliac disease