Anyone who suspects they may have coeliac disease should present themselves to a medical professional for diagnosis. That’s according to the Coeliac Society of Ireland, whose annual Coeliac Awareness Week kicks off nationwide tomorrow, Monday, 8th May 2017. Coeliac Awareness Week is supported by Ireland’s leading grocery retailer, SuperValu, and runs until 15th May.
Importance of Medical Diagnosis
As part of the year’s Coeliac Awareness Week, the Coeliac Society of Ireland has developed a free, online self-assessment tool which will go live tomorrow. When members of the public visit www.isitcoeliacdisease.ie or via the coeliac.ie website, users of the tool will be asked a number of questions relating to their current health. If the symptoms match to some of those of coeliac disease, they will be encouraged to seek a medical diagnosis and will be provided with supporting information to bring to their GP. The tool has been developed as a result of public misconceptions about coeliac disease.
Commenting today, Fergal O’Sullivan, CEO of the Coeliac Society of Ireland, said: “In recent weeks there has been a huge amount of confusion among the public about coeliac disease, what its symptoms are, and how to treat it. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease. The disease can have many symptoms, often subtle ones such as chronic tiredness and skin problems. The only treatment for coeliac disease is a strict gluten free diet.
“Our new self-assessment tool will allow anyone to quickly check their symptoms to see if they are similar to those of people with coeliac disease. However, we cannot overstate how important it is for anyone who suspects they may have coeliac disease to make an appointment with their GP for an official diagnosis.
As well as the new tool going live tomorrow, a range of events will take place nationwide to mark the week, including a campaign in conjunction with GPs and pharmacists to raise awareness of the symptoms of coeliac disease and a series of in-store events at SuperValu stores, including dietetic talks, advice from the Coeliac Society of Ireland and gluten free food samplings.
Gluten Free Promise
As part of Coeliac Awareness Week, the Society is calling on supermarkets to commit to stocking eight gluten free staples in store. SuperValu is the first to sign up to the initiative, and the Coeliac Society of Ireland is calling on other supermarkets nationwide to join them.
James Bruen, Trading Manager – Health & Wellness for SuperValu: “At SuperValu, we are committed to ensuring all of our customers’ needs are met, including those with coeliac disease. We have committed to provide at least eight staple food products that are gluten-free, to ensure our customers with coeliac disease have choices available to them. We’re delighted to be sponsoring this year’s Coeliac Awareness Week to help to raise awareness of coeliac disease and to be able to show people with coeliac disease that there are a wide range of products available to them – their lifestyle and eating habits do not need to be restricted”.
What is Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac disease is an auto-immune disease that prevents those affected from digesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. The disease can manifest itself at any stage in a person’s lifetime, with symptoms including abdominal pain, recurring mouth-ulcers, weight-loss, vomiting and diarrhoea. It is estimated to affect 47,500 people in Ireland.