Dr Mark Kennedy - Private Internal Medicine Specialist
Coeliac disease is quite a common condition caused by gluten allergy. It affects up to 1 in 80 of the population. It is important to ensure the diagnosis before needing to commit to lifelong exclusion of gluten intake. The diagnosis is usually confirmed with blood tests and duodenal biopsies taken at gastroscopy. It is important that a gluten containing diet has been consumed, ideally four slices of bread a day for 8 weeks prior to the gastroscopy and duodenal biopsies. Coeliac disease can be associated with nutritional deficiencies (such as iron, folic acid and vitamin deficiencies) and a variety of unusual complications affecting the skin, joints and various other parts of the body. There is an increased risk of type I diabetes mellitus, thyroid disease and some cancers in those with untreated coeliac disease.
After Specialist Dietitian advice, and contact with the New Zealand Coeliac Society, coeliac disease is usually well controlled with gluten exclusion from the diet. The risk of associated complications is reduced with the exclusion of gluten.
A follow-up gastroscopy and repeat blood tests are often performed some time after commencing gluten exclusion, to ensure that an improvement is seen in the histological appearances. In the first instance, a further dietary review is arranged if the appearances are unsatisfactory.
Was this page helpful?
This page was last updated at 2:04PM on October 8, 2019.