The annual Coeliac Awareness Week, organised by the Coeliac Society of Ireland in partnership with SuperValu, is taking place from 14th to 20th May.
This year the week will look at the familial aspect of coeliac disease. Looking at the increased incidence of coeliac disease when a first blood relative has been diagnosed and the role of family in supporting those living with the disease. Throughout the week we will share recipes, tips on cooking for a person with coeliac disease, navigating parties etc. for a coeliac child.
Coeliac disease affects an estimated one in every 100 people in Ireland. However, for those with a first-degree relative with the disease, there’s a one in 10 chance they’ll be coeliac themselves.
A range of family-friendly events will take place to mark Coeliac Awareness Week 2018. Details of these events and initiatives will be launched in the coming weeks.
Coeliac disease is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people in Ireland. We believe many people go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for many years. As there is no national disease register in Ireland figures are estimated.
Coeliac disease is an auto-immune disease which prevents those affected from digesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. The disease can manifest itself at any stage in a person’s lifetime, with symptoms including abdominal pain, recurring mouth-ulcers, weight-loss, vomiting and diarrhoea. It is estimated to affect 47,500 people in Ireland. If left untreated coeliac disease can lead to other conditions including; osteoporosis, anaemia and fertility issues.
Diagnosis of coeliac disease is relatively straight forward. The first step is a simple blood test which can be completed by a GP. If this is indicative of coeliac disease a biopsy of the gut is required to provide definitive diagnosis. The only treatment is a strict gluten free diet. It is recommended that once diagnosed people visit a dietitian to ensure their diet is as healthy as possible. Untreated coeliac disease affects the absorption of vitamins and minerals so many individuals recently diagnosed have nutrient deficiencies.
Unfortunately, a referral to a dietitian does not always happen and we know that waiting lists are long in some areas of the country.