Organisers of Somerset’s first Coeliac Disease Food and Health event hope its popularity and success has generated sufficient interest to establish a countywide support group.
More than 200 people attended the Food and Health event at Taunton’s Woodlands Castle Hotel last Tuesday (24-2-15).
Visitors enjoyed talks with NHS community dieticians and hospital specialist, as well as an opportunity to view stalls, presentations and cookery demonstrations by Café Nouveau from Frome.
Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune condition caused by intolerance to the protein in wheat, rye and barley called gluten. Its debilitating symptoms can include bloating, diarrhoea or constipation, and tiredness to more serious health problems like osteoporosis and infertility and if left untreated can even develop into cancer of the small bowel.
The UK has the second highest prevalence of the disease in Europe with research suggesting 0.8 to 1.9% of the population could be affected. In Somerset there are about 1300 patients diagnosed with the disease, which suggests there could be as many as 3,100 – 9,150 people undiagnosed.
Almost half of patients in Somerset (43%) said it took almost two years to get their diagnosis of Coeliac Disease.
Eileen Mitchell, the Coeliac UK Dorchester Group organiser, said: “We were delighted with the support we received at the recent Food and Health event in Taunton and hope this might be a launch pad to get a support group established for the whole of Somerset. We currently cover the South Somerset area which geographically is too large for us to sustain.
“There is so much information now available about the disease and so much more choice of gluten free foods and products, but it is still the advice, experience and support of others with the condition that can be of most help and value.”
If you or a relative have Coeliac Disease and would be interested in joining a Somerset support group or receiving further information please contact:
Christine Lincoln, c/o: Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group. Tel: 01935 385020 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Coeliac UK has branches across the South West. Help and advice about the condition is also available from their web site at: www.coeliac.org.uk/home/
Notes for editors
The Somerset Food and Health event was organised by Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, the GP led organisation now responsible for the planning and funding of Somerset health services, in collaboration with the Dorset and South Somerset branch of Coeliac UK.
Generous sponsorship and support for the Somerset Coeliac Disease Health and Food event was received from:
Coeliac UK (Dorchester Branch)
Natural Life of Glastonbury
Plum Duff and Stuff
Marks and Spencer’s
Café Nouveau of Frome