Coeliac Disease Awareness Week 2023

8th May 2023

From the 15th to the 20th of May it is Coeliac Disease Awareness Week. Approximately 1 in 100 people in the UK have coeliac disease. Our friends at Coeliac UK say only 36% who have the condition have been diagnosed, meaning nearly half a million people have coeliac disease but don’t yet know! This is why awareness of this condition is vital.

What is coeliac disease?

Stomach animation looking up at the information.Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease, which occurs in people who become sensitive to a protein called gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barely and rye and is normally a nourishing and harmless part of the food we eat.

However, if you have coeliac disease, gluten causes damage to the lining of your small bowel. This can cause problems with absorption of nutrients from food.

The treatment, which is usually very successful, is to remove all sources of gluten from the diet. 

What does coeliac disease look like?

In a person with coeliac disease, the villi have been damaged by inflammation and they will look shorter and stubbier. This means that fewer nutrients are able to pass into the bloodstream.

What are the symptoms of coeliac disease?

There are a wide variation in the symptoms experienced.

In children:

In adults:

There are also symptoms which may present outside of digestive tract too:

  • Persistent lethargy (feeling tired all the time).
  • Loss of sensation of fingers and toes.
  • Skin rashes (called dermatitis herpatiformis).

How is coeliac disease diagnosed?

It is important to continue eating gluten whilst testing for coeliac disease is being completed.

Blood tests

In the first instance you will need to go to your GP who will arrange for a blood test.


Endoscopy involves passing a thin, flexible tube through the mouth and down through your gut to the small intestine. Biopsies (samples of tissue) are then taken. The biopsies will show whether or not the villi are abnormal. If they are, it confirms a coeliac disease diagnosis. However, endoscopy is not necessarily a requirement for everyone.

Read more about coeliac disease here.

This week help us to raise awareness of this misunderstood condition. The more people who know about coeliac disease and its symptoms of it, the more people will be diagnosed. Thank you.

It is your support that allows us to continue raising awareness far and wide. With you by our side, we can reach more people together, and be there when we’re needed most. Please donate to Guts UK today.

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