Feature Article

Current status and management of coeliac disease

DHF Writing Group on Coeliac Disease
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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.