NHS 24 hopes their Living Well with Coeliac Disease guide will help the estimated 14,500 people in Scotland who are diagnosed with the condition.
Coeliac disease causes the immune system in a person’s gut to react when they eat gluten. People diagnosed with coeliac disease must maintain a strict gluten free diet for the rest of their life if they are to avoid very serious complications such as osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions such as gluten ataxia and neuropathy and, although rare, an increased risk of small bowel cancer and intestinal lymphoma.
It is estimated that there are around 36,000 people living in Scotland who are undiagnosed as symptoms can be mistaken for other common conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and stress, and this guide will be of benefit to those who are diagnosed in the future.
Dr Laura Ryan, Medical Director at NHS 24, said: “Symptoms of coeliac disease can vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe. Living with the disease can be challenging but with the right support and information, it’s completely manageable. There are some things you can do which will help you cope better with your condition and diet.”
Created in partnership with the charity Coeliac UK, NHS Scotland, Scottish Government, and people who have experience of coeliac disease, the guide also busts some common myths about the condition, such as ‘a breadcrumb won’t hurt someone with coeliac disease’. Even very small amounts of gluten can be damaging to people with coeliac disease. So, taking steps to avoid cross contamination with gluten is important to prevent damaging the body.
Myles Fitt, Scotland Lead at Coeliac UK said: “Starting a gluten free diet can be challenging and this informative new guide will be very helpful for those newly diagnosed with coeliac disease. There are many things to think about such as which foods are gluten free, where to shop and how to eat out safely. With this guide, along with the support Coeliac UK can provide, those with coeliac disease will be able to live well, gluten free.”
To access the guide, search ‘living well with coeliac disease’ on nhsinform.scot