Food intolerance or allergy is increasingly big problem in Australia. You can see that many restaurants and food businesses have acknowledged this by showcasing a wider variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options in their menus. The Victorian government’s Better Health Channel states that around two in every 100 Australians are currently living with a food allergy, and that’s not accounting for how many more have an intolerance.
In light of the past week being Coeliac Awareness Week (March 13-20), we at AEH Retirement are taking a look into living comfortably with this condition. It’s not an allergy nor an intolerance, but rather, an autoimmune disorder.
This disease affects around one in 70 of our population, according to Coeliac Australia, who estimate that a four out of 5 are yet to be diagnosed. A study published in the Annals of Medicine found that the prevalence of this disorder increased twofold over a 15-year period!
It has also been surfacing as a bigger problem among seniors. However, with the right knowledge and lifestyle habits, coeliac disease can easily be managed.
What is coeliac disease?
It’s when your immune system has an abnormal reaction to gluten. Even the tiniest amount can cause damage to your small bowel. It is commonly misdiagnosed because the symptoms may appear to point towards another condition, or even be asymptomatic. It’s hereditary, so those at risk should have a screening test done.
The symptoms of coeliac disease are typically gastrointestinal problems – bloating, cramping, diarrhoea, constipation and many more similar to food poisoning, hence why it is so easily misdiagnosed. Fatigue, weakness, joint pains and weight change are also common symptoms.
Living with coeliac disease
It’s only a myth that only young people can develop this disorder. Coeliac UK explains that the most common group to be diagnosed is between 40-60 years of age. However, with the right diet changes, it’s not difficult to live with. Of course, you’ll need to choose an independent retirement community that allows you to accommodate your specific needs.
With over 55 retirement villages in Newcastle, you can live a comfortable and independent life in one of AEH Retirement’s communities. We allow you access to all the services you need, including a specialised diet free of any gluten whatsoever.
A coeliac disorder requires a healthy meal plan to be free of any gluten, including even the slightest crumbs. It’s a lifelong condition, but with meticulous food preparation and diet monitoring, can help to reduce any risks posed by consuming gluten. In a retirement home that allows you the freedom for such a lifestyle will really go a long way in making sure you are comfortable and healthy.