Somerset Support for Coeliac sufferers
Author : Sarah Kean-Price
Date : 25/05/2012 09:50:49
This week is the UK's awareness week for coeliac disease and, in timely fashion, a local Somerset woman has set up a support group for residents to help deal with the needs that come with coeliac problems.
Deb Buller has joined up with Coeliac UK to form a support group for West Somerset. A treasurer and chairperson have been found and Deb is now searching for interested parties who either want support or fancy becoming part of the committee.
The group is planned to provide both information and social get-togethers. You can contact Deb by texting her on 07817 080116 (as Deb is Deaf, phone calls and voicemail messages won't be answered - stick to the texts!).
Undoubtedly, these get-togethers will provide you with a chance to flex your baking muscles and create some gluten-free cake and nibbles!
The author, whilst not gluten-intolerant herself, has eaten some quite unbelievably delicious, gluten-free, spiced orange almond cake recently and cannot recommend it highly enough. Her baker boyfriend tells her this recipe is closest to what they ate. Go on, treat yourself!
It is not clear whether Deb's group is focused purely on adults or adults and children but we're sure this will at least give you the chance to meet other parents and carers with coeliac-suffering children too!
Coeliac disease is a digestive problem that stems from your immune system over-reacting to the gliadin protein in the gluten in wheat, barley and rye. The reaction may be 'silent', mild or very severe. When silent, you suffer the ill-effects without any symptoms to let you know you have it; at it's worst, you may suffer from swelling, incontinence, spasms and cramps.
This immune over-reaction also damages your small intestine and sometimes other parts of the body too. This means that moving to a gluten-free diet really is important. It's not just to prevent the symptoms of coeliac disease; it decreases the chance of long-term damage from anaemia, osteoporosis, infertility, growth defects and even cancer of the small intestine.
Children and coeliac disease
In children, coeliac disease generally appears when they are weaned onto a diet containing cereals (things like bread, rice, cake and pasta). Child symptoms may include tummy bloating, irritability, muscle wasting and loss of the ability to put on weight.
About 15-25% of people suffer from dermatitis herpetiformis too - a blistery, itchy skin rash generally on your elbows, knees and buttocks. You are also more likely to have coeliac disease if you are female but it can happen to people of any age.
It is worth noting that you can mistake coeliac disease for IBS or wheat intolerance. If you have any concerns about your child, talk to your GP or health visitor.
If you do suspect coeliac problems, it is important that you do not move your child to a gluten-free diet without health professional guidance!
Coeliac UK provides some great advice for those new to their diagnosis here. They encourage you to learn about the kinds of foods you'll need to eat or avoid, get free appointments from an NHS dietician, talk to your GP about getting gluten-free food on prescription and talk to others in the same situation for advice and support (and join Coeliac UK!).
If you're in Somerset, you might want to give Deb a shout too to meet up with some friendly faces and talk about how best to work with the disease.
You're also welcome to contact Clover House for advice or an appointment by emailing us or ringing us on (01225) 344047.
Good luck and enjoy your almond cake!
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