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Thursday, March 15, 2007
Happy Australian Coeliac Awareness Week
Originally posted here: http://www.gluten-free-living.net/news/

** Australian Coeliac Society – Media Release **

The gluten free diet is not a fad diet for over 250,000 Australians!

Coeliac Awareness Week
13 – 20 March

Medical practitioners and the food and catering industry need to be aware that for many Australians the gluten in wheat, rye, barley and oats is not food, but poison.

Coeliac Disease is now recognised as an underdiagnosed life long disease affecting over 250,000 Australians (prevalence 1:70-250 caucasians and west Asians) with a range of presentations.

How much of a burden to society is untreated coeliac disease?

We do not have the answer yet but we can say that we are working towards it and other important economic questions needed to be answered about coeliac disease. The Australian New Zealand Coeliac Research Fund has recently commissioned the School of Population Health, University of Melbourne to undertake an important project. Over the next twelve months, they will quantify, in health and economic terms, the full impact of coeliac disease, in Australia and New Zealand and identify useful priority areas for future research.

Some of the clinical features that prompt screening for coeliac disease are family history of coeliac disease, unexplained anaemia, fatigue, nutrient deficiency, diarrhoea, constipation, irritable bowel type symptoms (although gastrointestinal symptoms may not be present), osteoporosis, growth and developmental delay in children, recurrent mouth ulcers, unexplained neurological complaints, infertility and recurrent miscarriage, skin rash – typically itchy and blistering. Coeliac disease is associated with a range of conditions which include type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, liver enzyme disturbance, colitis and other autoimmune diseases.

Don’t trial a gluten free diet

A gluten free diet should never be started before an endoscopy and blood tests, as it will interfere with establishing the correct diagnosis or may delay the diagnosis of another condition with similar symptoms.

If you would like further information you can contact –
The Australian Coeliac Society on +61 2 9411 4100 or info@coeliac.org.au

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