We caught the end of a programme on Radio 4 this afternoon, while driving, which caught my daughter’s attention. “Like me!” she said, when the speaker revealed that she’d been diagnosed with coeliac disease.
The programme was actually about new treatments for ostoporosis, but – helpfully – the risks of developing osteoporosis as a result of undiagnosed coeliac disease were clearly stated.
Luckily, the woman speaking on the radio had been diagnosed with coeliac disease, and as a result, was automatically sent for a bone scan, which caught the osteoporosis. She’d never broken a bone and had no idea she had osteoporosis. As a result, she was delighted to have been diagnosed as coeliac!
The problem with undiagnosed coeliac disease is that valuable nutrients are not being absorbed, with the resulting damage to bone. Coeliacs who’ve been gluten free for long enough will in most cases be absorbing these nutrients again, because the lining of their small intestine will have healed. My daughter’s risk of bone damage is minimal – she’s had years to rebuild her bone strength. But there it is: one very good reason not to cheat. As if you needed any more reasons…
If you’ve recently been diagnosed as coeliac, and you’ve not had a bone scan to check for osteoporosis, then perhaps you should ask for one. As well as remembering to eat calcium and do some exercise!
If you’re interested in the osteoporosis programme, you can find it on the BBC website at the moment, and it will probably be there for a while longer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00q3gjn.
Also available via the BBC site is the FRAX risk assessment tool to assess the probability that you’ll suffer a broken bone in the next decade, based on gender, BMI and medical history. Definitely worth a look.