Navigating life with a dietary restriction can be intimidating, especially when that diet requires you to avoid gluten entirely. For individuals in the United Kingdom diagnosed with celiac disease, understanding what it is and how to live with it can be difficult without guidance.

One of the simplest methods for screening for Celiac Disease involves using home testing kits, which can be done at home or a medical practitioner’s clinic. These testing kits are user-friendly and allow you to test for Celiac Disease.

What Is Celiac Disease

Have you ever experienced digestive discomfort after eating bread or pasta? You may have celiac disease. Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disease that damages the small intestine when gluten is ingested. Gluten is a protein present in wheat, barley, and rye. This damage can cause malabsorption of nutrients, leading to symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue, and diarrhoea. The only remedy for celiac disease is maintaining a gluten-free diet for life. If you have celiac disease, seeking advice from a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment is critical.

Prevalence Of Celiac Disease In The UK

Celiac disease, a severe autoimmune condition that damages the small intestine, affects approximately 1 in 100 people in the UK. Though it is often mistaken for mild food intolerance, this disease can have severe consequences if left untreated. Unfortunately, many people with celiac disease are undiagnosed and therefore don’t receive the necessary medical care. If you suspect you may have celiac disease, seeing a doctor and getting tested is essential. With proper diagnosis and management, those living with celiac disease can lead happy, healthy lives. 

Causes Of Celiac Disease And Risk Factors 

Celiac disease is a condition due to the immune system’s reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. While it’s not entirely clear why some people develop celiac disease, and others don’t, there are a few known causes and risk factors.


  • Genetic factors: People with specific genes are more likely to develop celiac disease. If a close family member has celiac disease, you are also at a higher risk of developing it.
  • Environmental triggers: Certain events, such as surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, and viral infections, can trigger the onset of celiac disease.
  • Gut microbiome: Disruptions in the gut microbiome may also play a role in the development of celiac disease.

Risk factors:

  • Family history: If a close family member has celiac disease, the risk of developing the condition increases.
  • Autoimmune disorders: People with other autoimmune conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disease, are at a higher risk of developing celiac disease.
  • Age: Although celiac disease can develop at any stage of life, it is typically identified in individuals aged between 30 and 40.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop celiac disease than men.
  • Ethnicity: Celiac disease is more common in people of European descent than other ethnic groups.

Understanding celiac disease’s causes and risk factors can help individuals make informed decisions about their health. They can also take the necessary steps to manage the condition.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease 

Celiac disease is a condition that can cause a wide range of symptoms, and they can vary from person to person. Some people with celiac disease may have no symptoms, while others may experience severe symptoms. 

Common symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating and gas
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Anaemia
  • Joint pain
  • Skin rash
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Headaches
  • Depression and anxiety

In children, celiac disease can also cause symptoms such as:

  • Delayed growth and development
  • Short stature
  • Tooth enamel defects
  • Irritability and behavioural changes
  • Delayed puberty

It’s important to note that some people with celiac disease may have no or atypical symptoms, such as neurological issues or unexplained infertility. 

Diagnosing Celiac Disease 

Diagnosing celiac disease can be challenging because the symptoms can vary widely, and some people may have no symptoms. If your doctor doubts that you may have celiac disease, they typically start with a physical exam and take a detailed medical history.

To confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease, your doctor may recommend the following tests:

  • Blood tests: A blood test can detect the presence of specific antibodies in your bloodstream that are associated with celiac disease. If these antibodies are present, it may indicate that you have the condition.
  • Biopsy: If blood tests suggest that you may have celiac disease, your doctor may recommend a biopsy of the small intestine. During the procedure, the medical professional takes a small piece of tissue from the intestine lining and examines it for damage that characterises the celiac disease.
  • Genetic testing: Genetic testing can help determine if you have the genes associated with celiac disease, but it cannot diagnose the condition on its own.
  • Rapid/Home testing: Rapid tests and home testing kits can give results within 20 minutes and are available in community or clinic settings. A confirmation test is required for diagnosis if the result is positive.

It’s important to note that if you suspect you have celiac disease, you should not start a gluten-free diet before being tested. Eliminating gluten from your diet can alter test results and make it more challenging to diagnose the condition accurately.

If you are diagnosed with celiac disease, following a strict gluten-free diet is the only way to manage the condition. Working with a dietitian specialising in celiac disease can help develop a safe and healthy meal plan.

Treatment for Celiac Disease 

A gluten-free diet is important for managing celiac disease, a chronic condition requiring lifelong adherence.

Here are some critical points about treatment for celiac disease:

  • Gluten-free Diet: The only known treatment for celiac disease is a lifelong gluten-free diet, which involves avoiding all foods and drinks containing wheat, barley, and rye. This also includes avoiding foods that may be cross-contaminated with gluten during processing or preparation.
  • NHS Resources: In the UK, the NHS provides access to dietitians specialising in celiac disease. They can offer advice and support on following a gluten-free diet and ensuring you get all the necessary nutrients from your food.
  • Gluten-free Products: Many supermarkets in the UK now stock a wide range of gluten-free products, including bread, pasta, cereal, and snacks. Look for products that are clearly labelled as gluten-free, and be sure to check the ingredients list carefully.
  • Cross-contamination: Avoiding cross-contamination in the kitchen, such as using separate cooking utensils and avoiding shared appliances like toasters, is essential. Always wash your hands, dishes, and surfaces before preparing gluten-free food.
  • Medications: Currently, no medicines are available to treat celiac disease, although some may be used to help manage symptoms like acid reflux or bloating. Additionally, To aid the healing of the intestine, steroids can help alleviate severe symptoms of celiac disease. Drugs such as azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran) or budesonide (Entocort EC, Uceris) may also be used.
  • Follow-up Care: Regular follow-up care is vital for people with celiac disease to monitor their symptoms, nutrient levels, and bone density. Your doctor may also recommend periodic blood tests or biopsies to check for intestinal damage.

By following a strict gluten-free diet and working with healthcare professionals, many people with celiac disease can successfully manage their symptoms and live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, celiac disease is a severe autoimmune condition that requires lifelong management. While the only treatment is a strict gluten-free diet, the good news is that many resources and support systems are available to help those with celiac disease. It’s essential to be aware of the symptoms, risk factors, and diagnostic process for celiac disease and to seek medical advice if you suspect you may have the condition. 

Home testing kits help with initial testing and deciding whether to go to the doctor. Taking proactive steps to manage celiac disease can improve our quality of life and enjoy good health benefits. You can also order home testing kits online to be delivered to your doorstep.


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