Feature Article

Current status and management of coeliac disease

DHF Writing Group on Coeliac Disease



Coeliac disease nowadays generally presents with milder, more nonspecific symptoms than 20 or so years ago, providing a diagnostic challenge. It is readily treatable with a gluten-free diet and regular monitoring of health and nutritional status.

Key Points

  • Coeliac disease is an important and readily treatable cause of malabsorption and nutritional deficiency.
  • The prevalence of coeliac disease in Australia is not known but is almost certainly higher than previously suspected.
  • Coeliac disease can commonly present without gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Coeliac disease should always be considered in patients with unexplained iron and/or folate deficiency.
  • Antibody testing alone cannot substitute for histological diagnosis.
  • Coeliac disease is treated by lifelong withdrawal of gluten-containing foods from the diet.
  • There is no role for a trial of gluten-free diet without a preceeding biopsy.