Welcome to this guide to understanding coeliac disease.
This guide is ideal for someone who is just learning what coeliac disease it. It will help you understand what coeliac disease really is, discover what gluten is and provide resources for navigating what can seem like a minefield when it come to eating and living gluten free. You will also find links to cookbooks and blogs for when you are ready to start cooking and eating gluten free.
Stephanie has a personal interest in coeliac disease. She was diagnosed 16 years ago, at age 16, halfway through her final year of high school. Since then she has navigated her way through a gluten free life both a home and while traveling. She hasn't let dietary restrictions stop her from enjoying life and you shouldn't either!
Coeliac Disease, Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity or Wheat Allergy: What is the Difference?
Coeliac disease, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity and wheat allergy are all conditions whose primary treatment is avoidance of specific dietary components. Coeliac disease and wheat allergy are well defined conditions, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity is poorly understood at this time. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition; wheat allergy involves an immune (but not auto-immune) response; and the biological processes responsible for non-coeliac gluten sensitivity remain undefined. Coeliac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity have many symptoms in common, whereas those of wheat allergy are usually different. Possible symptoms of coeliac disease and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity are similar: gastrointestinal symptoms such as cramping, diarrhea and constipation, as well as symptoms in other parts of the body such as bone or joint pain, headaches, or fatigue. Symptoms of an allergy to wheat can include itching, hives, or anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction. Treatment for coeliac disease and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity is to remove gluten from the diet. Treatment for wheat allergy is removal of all forms of wheat from the diet. Learn more at gluten.org
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. The new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was first discovered in China. When someone gets sick with this virus the illness is called COVID-19.
Are people with coeliac disease more at risk of serious disease?
As coeliac disease is a chronic medical illness, people may be understandably concerned that having coeliac disease may place them at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. To date, there have been no studies or reports suggesting patients with coeliac disease are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 compared to patients without coeliac disease. Currently, there is no research to indicate if those with coeliac disease are at higher risk for developing COVID-19 or its complication. Doctors need to collect more information to understand whether having coeliac disease affects the risk of COVID-19 infection or how severe illness related to COVID-19 may be.
As it is unknown if coeliac disease impacts on COVID-19 risk, the Medical Advisory Committee of Coeliac Australia recommend everyone with coeliac disease maintain strict adherence to a gluten free diet and ensure routine medical follow-up. For more information, see Coeliac Australia