Statement Regarding Death Rates Associated With Coeliac Disease
7 August 2001
*This statement follows an embargoed article in this week’s Lancet*
Leading medical research charity, Action Research has committed more than £100,000 towards current coeliac disease research, and says the recent findings reiterate the critical need to identify sufferers early.
Dr Jocelyn Fraser is currently working on an Action Research project designed to promote speedy and more accurate detection of coeliac disease in the relatives of patients with this inherited condition.
She says of the new Italian research: ‘It echoes the need to diagnose sufferers early, and start them on a strict gluten free diet so as to reduce the long-term health consequences, specifically the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which has a very poor prognosis.’
Thanks to the Action Research project, Dr Fraser adds: ’We have made great progress in the early identification of patients with coeliac disease, and it remains a priority to raise awareness of this condition, especially among GPs, and to avoid the long-term health risks and increased mortality in this group of people.’
Earlier this year her colleague Professor Paul Ciclitira, who is based at the Gastroenterology Unit as part of St Thomas’ Hospital in London, reported that many people who seek help through their GP are told they are suffering from anaemia or irritable bowel syndrome, when in fact about 10% of them have coeliac disease.
Notes to Editors: *Coeliac disease is an intolerance to gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, and barley. If untreated, the condition can be serious, especially in young children.
*The condition affects one in every 300 in the UK, in which gluten damages the lining of the intestine. Symptoms can vary, ranging from tiredness and chronic diarrhoea in adults, to failure to put on weight in infants.
*Although treatable, some studies claim coeliac disease can lead to serious long-term complications such as osteoporosis and cancer if patients don’t avoid gluten in their diet. Similarly, children will be more at risk of developing autoimmune diseases such as diabetes.
For further media and press information, please contact Nicole Duckworth in the Action Research press office on 01403 327403 Fax: 01403 210541, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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