Coeliac disease is due to an abnormality of the lining of part of the small intestine called the jejunum. This is due to an intolerance or allergy to gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and oat products. The abnormality prevents the absorption of fats and some important nutrients like calcium. This results in the passing of fatty foul smelling stools, diarrhea and weight loss. If undetected the condition can lead to anemia and malnutrition.
Treatment for the disease is a gluten free diet. Once gluten has been eliminated from the daily diet the symptoms will subside. However, there is no cure for this disease and life long gluten-free diet is necessary to prevent the symptoms returning. Gluten free products using potato or soya flour, can be brought from most good health shops. More information can be obtained from the Coeliac Society of the UK, PO BOX 220, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP11 2HY.
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