What is Coeliac Disease
Coeliac disease is a lifelong medical condition where the lining of the small intestine (villi) is intolerant (allergic) and damaged due to gluten or gliadin (wheat protein), secatin (rye), hordein (barley) or avenin (oats).
Gluten is the protein component which is found in wheat, rye, oats, barley and other derivatives of these which include malt and triticale, that gives cereal doughs their elastic texture. People who have coeliac disease have a decreased ability to absorb healthy nutrients from food. This can result in many gastrointestinal symptoms as well as other seemingly unrelated symptoms. Some of the symptoms of coeliac disease can also be attributed to irritable bowel syndrome or due to other food allergies such as lactose and dairy intolerance. Often it can take people many years to discover that the various symptoms which had previously been diagnosed as other ailments are actually symptoms of coeliac disease.
What are the symptoms of Coeliac Disease?
Symptoms can include one or more of the following:
- gastrointestinal symptoms e.g. diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, cramping, bloating,
- abdominal pain, steatorrhea
- fatigue, weakness and lethargy
- iron deficiency anaemia and/or other vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- failure to thrive or delayed puberty in children
- weight loss (although some people may gain weight)
- bone and joint pains
- recurrent mouth ulcers and/or swelling of mouth or tongue
- altered mental alertness and irritability
- skin rashes such as dermatitis herpetiformis
- easy bruising of the skin
People who experience any of the following should also be screened for coeliac disease
- early onset osteoporosis
- unexplained infertility
- family history of coeliac disease
- liver disease
- autoimmune disease e.g. type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid condition
Coeliac Disease with Seniors?
Coeliac disease was originally considered to be a childhood disease, however, today, diagnoses occur at any age. It may be identified at around two years of age, also around the mid thirties and even in people aged in their eighties and nineties.
Starting a Gluten- Free diet as a senior may be overwhelming as they have had a lifetime of unrestricted food habits which now need to change. It is vital that any person of any age who is diagnosed with coeliac disease, remains on the diet in order to help their body to 'recover'. A bone density test, which can determine the risk of osteoporosis, is also recommended for all people diagnosed with coeliac disease. As osteoporosis is associated with senior years in the general population, it is particularly important that bone status is known in a person with coeliac disease.
TLC meals are an easy way for seniors to cope with a change of diet
Tender Loving Cuisine (TLC) offers an easy way to cope with a change of diet, with a range of ready made meals that are guaranteed to be free from gluten. These meals all undergo laboratory testing to ensure that they have no gluten detected to the industry standard of 5 parts per million.
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