Coeliac is an autoimmune disease caused by a permanent intestinal reaction to dietary gluten. At least one in one hundred people have the condition. It is hereditary, however both genetic and environmental factors play important roles in coeliac disease. In New Zealand alone, there are about 60,000 to 70,000 who have the coeliac disease.


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not a sign to Coeliac disease since it is only a similar digestive condition. Hospitals report the disease to develop two to three times higher in women than men. Its developments take place at any age through early symptoms seen during early childhood ranging 8 -12 months old and in late adulthood between age 40-60 years.

The common Coeliac disease rises from gluten reaction in the intestine to become inflamed and inhibits nutrients absorption. The disease makes the body immune system to attack its own tissues when one partakes gluten. The immune activation causes the small intestines to have villous atrophy, hypertrophy of the intestinal crypts, leading to an increase in lymphocytes in the lining of epithelium and lamina propria. This damages the gastrointestinal lining and prevents nutrient absorption through malabsorption. Gluten is a protein substance found in cereals such as wheat, barley, and rye. Most breakfast meals, pasta, cakes, most bread, most beers, certain types of ready-made meals, contain the cereals with gluten.

These are the common symptoms associated with the disease:

a. Bloating of the stomach
b. Diarrhea with an unpleasant odor.
c. Nerve damage
d. Itchy rash on the body (dermatitis herpetiformis)
e. Nausea
f. Wind

h. Tiredness
i. Mouth ulcers
j. Passing wind (flatulence)
k. indigestion
l. Unexpected weight loss
m. Anemia


There is no cure for the disease and prevention is the best treatment. Prevention is via switching diet to have meals that are gluten-free to help control symptoms. Prevention of serious complications is through avoiding cereals and meals that contain gluten. The gluten-free diet should also be healthy and well balanced for body growth and development.

Prevention is good to avoid further potential long-term complications when continuing to eat gluten.
a. Osteoporosis (loss of bones)
b. Prolonged anemia
c. Deficiency of Vitamin B12 and folate.
d. Affected pregnancy
e. Low weight infants
f. Bowel cancer

Diagnosis of the Coeliac disease is one other form of prevention. Testing allows patients to early detect risks of developing the disease. Mostly the disease is genetic and is a family history disorder.

In conclusion, Coeliac disease is a small intestine reaction to the gluten protein found in cereals such as wheat, barley, and rye. People having this gastrointestinal illness should change the diet to avoid these protein foods and help in prevention.


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