In moderate to severe cases of coeliac disease, supplementary vitamins, minerals and iron are given, according to the degree of deficiency. In mild cases, such supplementation is usually unnecessary.
As gluten is widely used in foods, patients need to consult a dietitian to obtain a detailed list of foods to avoid.
Avoiding gluten usually allows the person to live a normal life. Patients very rarely don't respond to a gluten-free diet alone, requiring other treatments such as corticosteroids.
In severe cases, however, even after eliminating gluten from the diet, there is some mortality from the disease, mainly among adults. An important cause of death is the development of intestinal lymphoma. A strict gluten-free diet has been shown to protect against this malignancy
When to see your doctor
If you or any member of your family develops symptoms similar to those listed above after eating wheat products, be sure to see your doctor.
This is particularly true if an immediate relative suffers from the disease.
What causes coeliac disease?
The symptoms of coeliac disease
How to diagnose coeliac disease
Reviewed by Dr Ismail Moola MBCHB (UCT) FCP (SA) Cert Gastro Phys (SA).
Specialist Physician / Gastroenterologist Netcare Sunninghill Hospital and part time Lecturer Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Wits University.
Previously reviewed by Dr G Watermeyer MBChBFCP (SA), Cert Gastroenterology (SA), Consultant GIT Clinic Groote Schuur Hospital.