Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Everton Here We Go Abbey Road

Monday, 19 July 2010

How Food Can Change Your Life

After three years as an ambassador for Coeliac UK, Dr Chris Steele MBE (pictured right) announced on ITV's This Morning that he himself has been diagnosed with coeliac disease.

Coeliac disease is not a food allergy but an autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten. Damage is caused to the gut lining when gluten is eaten. There is no cure or medication for the condition and the only treatment is a life adherence to a strict gluten free diet. Without a gluten free diet the disease can lead to other conditions such as malnutrition, osteoporosis, infertility and possible bowel cancer.

Over the few months preceding his diagnosis Dr Chris had been suffering with abdominal symptoms and his GP referred him to a gastroenterolgist. Blood tests and a biopsy confirmed that he had coeliac's disease: "I never dreamt that that I myself would be diagnosed" he says. "I think I have been having symptoms of diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fatigue on and off for many years but it wasn't until they got so bad recently that I did anything about it, and I will be encouraging everyone with similar symptoms to see their GP and be tested rather than suffer in silence."

At least 1 in 100 people in the UK have coeliac disease, however only about 10-15% of those have been diagnosed and Coeliac UK estimate that over half a million people in the UK are as yet undiagnosed.

There have been issues with poor recognition of coeliac disease in primary care says Dr Norma McGough, a senior dietician with Coeliac UK - for example it is ofen misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome with which it shares some symptoms. It is hoped that the situation will be improved by new guidelines on the diagnosis of coeliacs disease released by the National Institure for Clinical Excellence last year.

While the food industry has made huge strides with specialist gluten-free products, eating out still remains a major issue for people with coeliac disease. "It is important to understand food labels," said Dr McGough. "Diagnosis is the key but once that's established then it's all plain sailing - It's just a question of trying to diminish the impact of coeliac disease on quality of life and sustaining confidence."

Find out more at www.coeliac.org.uk

Article first published by Media Planet June 2010.