This week marks Coeliac Awareness Week, as Coeliac Australia and New Zealand urge people to take the simple blood test that could hold prevent an onslaught of long-term health problems.
Four out of five people with coeliac disease in Australia and New Zealand are undiagnosed, yet treatment for those who suffer from it is vital for life-long health.
A protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats, gluten can cause those who are intolerant to it, bowel inflammation and malnutrition, as the damaged gut is prohibited from absorbing essential nutrients from food.
Fatigue and stomach pain are the most common symptoms, but these can extend to diarrhoea, bloating, weight loss, and anaemia, as well as the less common irritability and depression.
Untreated, coeliac disease sufferers can suffer long term health problems such as the risk of infertility, liver disease, miscarriage, and auto-immune diseases such as type 1 diabetes. They are also predisposed to developing osteoporosis, certain types of cancer, and premature death.
The message this Coeliac Awareness Week is clear: if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, go and get checked out. It could prolong your life.