Coeliac Awareness Week 2007 – In the News

Posted : Sun, Mar 18, 2007 2:28 am
Filed under : Celiac / Coeliac News > Celiac / Coeliac Research > Events > Gluten Free Australia > Gluten Free Living

“silent sufferers to receive potentially life saving diagnosis”

Gluten Free Breakfast It is estimated that as many as 250,000 Australians are suffering from Coeliac Disease, according to the Daily Telegraph March 12, 2007. They state that at 1 in 100 people are estimated to have the disease but only 1 in 5 are actually diagnosed. This is largely due to lack of awareness of the condition and symptoms being confused with other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stress and aging.The symptoms for Coeliac Disease can include diarrhea, fatigue, constipation, weight loss, mouth ulcers, headaches and severe stomach cramps. Delayed diagnosis and long term exposure to gluten has also lead the disease to be linked to osteoporosis, infertility and multiple miscarriages and cancer.

Due to the variety of non-specific symptoms it can be difficult for your GP to spot the signs for Coeliac Disease. This is why Graham Price of the Australian Coeliac Society recommends that you mention the potential of Coeliac to your GP. Although the awareness for Coeliac disease amongst GP’s has increased in recent years, there are still many people going undiagnosed as there are so many other conditions GP’s have to consider.

In order to diagnose Coeliac, a blood test is taken followed by a biopsy. It is believed that while people are born with a predisposition to the disease, only 1 in 30 will develop Coeliac Disease. Environmental factors have been attributed to triggering the condition and recent research suggests delaying the introduction of Gluten products until after a baby is four months old can assist with preventing the condition.

Currently there is no cure for Coeliac Disease, but it can be managed by following a strict Gluten Free diet.

According to the Daily Telegraph “Doctor’s at the Royal Adelaide Hospital announced last year they had developed a miniature laser telescope that can provide virtual biopsies of the small bowel to give more accurate diagnosis.” And the “Royal Melbourne hospital is also involved in trials of a vaccine”

Campaigners are using Coeliac awareness week to highlight the symptoms of the condition and to try to get more “silent sufferers to receive potentially life saving diagnosis”.


My two cents… I am continually impressed by the research, development and campaigning for Coeliac Disease. When I was diagnosed many years ago, most people had never even heard of Coeliac let alone Gluten. Now it seams a day doesn’t go by that I don’t meet another Coeliac or someone who has a friend or family member with the condition.

I recently had two Australian friends come and visit me in Canada. Before they arrived they had never heard of Coeliac, but through the course of their stay, they learnt about my condition and how to cater for a gluten free diet. When I told them this week that 1 in 100 Australian’s actually suffered from the disease, they were shocked. As avid myspace addicts they replied that it meant they must know at least 2 or 3 other people with the condition as they have almost 300 friends linked to their myspace. So we set the challenge and sure enough the next day, they found more of their friends that had or knew someone with Coeliac!

I was intrigued by our experiment and so would like to set the challenge to all my other friends; do you know someone (other than me) with Coeliac?

Only yesterday, when I was updating my blog, another friend of a friend mentioned that his girlfriend’s Dad has just been diagnosed at 60!

So talk to your families and friends and see if you can find someone else who has Coeliac, you may just be surprised by the results!

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Coeliac Awareness Week 2007 – Interesting Facts

Posted : Sat, Mar 17, 2007 1:58 am
Filed under : Celiac / Coeliac News > Celiac / Coeliac Research > Events > Gluten Free Australia > Gluten Free Living

Some interesting facts from this month’s Australian Coeliac Sentinel

Bok Choy The 12th International Celiac Symposium was held in New York in Nov. 2006, organised by an Australian, Dr. Peter Green who is Director of Celiac Disease Centre at Columbia University in New York City. The high but undetected rate of celiac disease in many communities and patient groups was the topic of many of the presentations.

In Hungary, community nurses used finger prick tests for celiac disease that can be read in 5 minutes to find affected children before they start school. Amongst the 2676 children tested, 1 in 73 were found to have Celiac disease.

In Finland, it was reported that the prevalence of celiac disease has doubled in the last 20 years.

In Sweden suffered from an epidemic of celiac disease among children born in 1993, but only half as many children born with the disease in 1999. Sweden is now recommending not to introduce Gluten into a baby’s diet until 6 months and to breast feed until at least 9 months as studies have shown that environment plays a critical role in determining whether Coeliac disease does develop.

The most interesting session was regarding initial clinic trials of a drug designed to reduce intestinal leakiness. The drug was safe and showed promising activity to reduce the damage caused by moderate amounts of gluten.

Australia is doing research work leading to the design of a Coeliac vaccine. Australia has a large footprint on the Coeliac world map. Our food labeling laws are the most advanced in the world, and our research is highly regarded.

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