Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged. The damaging is initiated by the immune system which reacts against gluten. The consequences of this reaction is the flattening of the villi which are crucial structures key in the absorption of nutrients from the diet.
Individuals with coeliac disease present, among others, diarrhoea, bloating, mouth ulcers and anaemia. In some cases, coeliac disease induces an itchy skin rash with or without the damaging of the intestinal lining.
• Coeliac UK: www.coeliac.org.uk
• Coeliac Society of Ireland: www.coeliac.ie